Mission Science Directorate: John’s Hopkins University
Top Speed: 430,000 MPH (700,000 KPH)
Travel Distance: 93,000,000 Miles
This will be the FASTEST spacecraft EVER manufactured and launched hitting 430,000 MPH as it nears our Sun. The probe will penetrate the Sun’s 1,000,000 degrees coronal plasma and approach the sun facing 2,500 Fahrenheit temperatures approaching about 3.9 million miles from the surface of the Sun.
So how do the spacecraft and its instruments survive this wickedly hot adventure? A Heat Shield. This shield is so effective that the instruments which lie within its shadow will be operating at a ‘cool’ 85 degrees Fahrenheit, the Summer temperature of the Atlantic Ocean just feet from the launch pad. Only the electric field antennas and a small
plasma detector will brave direct heat from the Sun.
The launch rocket, a Delta-IV Heavy, is the most powerful rocket on earth to deliver a spacecraft to a rendezvous near Venus for 7 laps then a gravity assist to hit its target. The boost to space is provided by the RS-68A (3) which burns cryogenic liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen and delivers 705,250 LBF of thrust at sea level. The 2nd Stage Cryogenic R10-B-2 is a customary stage for DeltaIV missions. The 3rd Stage was added for the longer duration flight, TO THE SUN!
Delta IV Heavy Image: ULA
The Delta-IV Heavy launched the Orionspacecraft, EFT-1, its first test mission. That launch vehicle, photo below, lacked the 3rd stage being used to take the Solar Probe much further into space. Many Visitors, Dignitaries, Employees, and Media will be viewing from this same position.
Delta IV Heavy Orion EFT-1
About The Man: Dr. Eugene Newman Parker – (1) In the mid-1950s, a young physicist named Eugene Parker proposed a number of concepts about how stars—including our Sun—give off energy. He called this cascade of energy the solar wind, and he described an entire complex system of plasmas, magnetic fields, and energetic particles that make up this phenomenon. Professor Parker also theorized an explanation for the superheated solar corona, which is (counterintuitively) hotter than the surface of the Sun itself: nanoflares, which in enough abundance could cause this heating.
Dr.Eugene Newman Parker Image: NASA/JHUAPL
The final payload closeout was performed at, and by, Astrotech of Titusville, Florida.
NASA in an effort to build its fan base created an entry on its website to register your name on a ‘Ticket’ that was embedded on a chip to fly with the spacecraft. Let’s Go!!!!
Departure Date and Time Subject To Change. Check back for updates.
SpaceX CRS-15, also known as SpX-15, is a Commercial Resupply Service mission to the International Space Station ready to launch, June 29th, 2018 at 5:41 am EST aboard a Falcon 9 rocket. A SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket will launch the 17th mission of a Dragon spacecraft on SpaceX’s 15th operational cargo delivery flight to the International Space Station. The flight is being conducted under the Commercial Resupply Services contract with NASA. This mission will use a previously-flown block 4 first stage booster and a reused Dragon capsule.
SpaceX CRS-15 Mission Patch
Packed with more than 5,900 pounds of research, crew supplies, and hardware, the SpaceX Dragon spacecraft will launch on a Falcon 9 rocket from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. About 10 minutes after launch, Dragon reaches its preliminary orbit, at which point it will deploy its solar arrays and begin a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the International Space Station.
In addition to bringing research to the station, the Dragon’s unpressurized trunk is carrying a new Canadian-built Latching End Effector or LEE. This new LEE is being launched as a spare to replace the failed unit astronauts removed during a series of spacewalks in the fall of 2017. Each end of the Canadarm2 robotic arm has an identical LEE, and they are used as the “hands” that grapple payloads and visiting cargo spaceships. They also enable Canadarm2 to “walk” to different locations on the orbiting outpost, including Canada’s Mobile Base, which travels along rails on the space station’s main truss.
It will take three days to reach the space station, where it will arrive Monday, July 2. NASA astronaut Ricky Arnold, backed up by fellow NASA astronaut Drew Feustel, will supervise the operation of the Canadarm2 robotic arm for Dragon’s capture while NASA astronaut Serena Auñón-Chancellor monitors the spacecraft’s systems. After Dragon capture, ground commands will be sent from mission control in Houston for the station’s arm to rotate and install it on the bottom of the station’s Harmony module.
A couple of the experiments that will be sent to the ISS on the CRS-15 mission include CIMON and DESIS. You can learn more about these experiments below.
Airbus, in cooperation with IBM, is developing CIMON (Crew Interactive MObile CompanioN), an AI-based assistant for astronauts for the DLR Space Administration. The technology demonstrator, which is the size of a medicine ball and weighs around 5 kg, will be tested on the ISS by Alexander Gerst during the European Space Agency’s Horizons mission between June and October 2018.
One of CIMON´s exercises on the International Space Station ISS will involve a Rubik´s Cube.
CIMON (Crew Interactive Mobile CompanioN) is a mobile and autonomous assistance system designed to aid astronauts with their everyday tasks on the ISS. This will be the first form of Artificial Intelligence (AI) on an ISS mission. CIMON is an experiment overseen by Space Administration at the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in cooperation with Airbus (Friedrichshafen/Bremen, Germany) as the prime contractor. CIMON is a free flyer fueled with Artificial Intelligence, enhancing human expertise. AI-based technology is about constantly understanding, reasoning and learning, so CIMON is designed to assist and to create a feeling of talking to a crewmate.
DLR Earth Sensing Imaging Spectrometer (DESIS)
The German Space Agency (DLR) Earth Sensing Imaging Spectrometer (DESIS) uses the Offner spectrometer hyperspectral instrument for the spectral range of 400-1000 nm, which includes the visual to near infrared spectrum (VIS-NIR). The system features include a Compact structure with a minimal number of optical components (lens, slit, primary mirror, convex grating and complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor [CMOS] array detector). Corrected, telecentric lens objective (robust, easy adjustment, low mass) with flat field and minimal aberrations. Spherical primary mirror, which combines collimating and imaging optics. Convex grating as dispersion element, the appropriate optimization of the spectrometer at high spatial and spectral resolution up to a flat focal plane. Specially designed groove profile of the grating leads to complete suppression of the second-order spectrum and minimum polarization sensitivity. Compact with few optical elements. Corrected telecentric lens (small in dimensions and weight) with an almost aberration-free figure. Grating as a dispersion element allows a high spatial and spectral resolution of the spectrometer to a very shallow focal plane structure. Specially designed groove profile of the grating which leads to a suppression of the second order of the spectrum and minimal polarization sensitivity. Modified VIS-NIR detector based on the design of a new highly specialized detector. Rotatable input mirror allows the change of the viewing angle in the flight direction.
The DESIS instrument. DESIS is the first hosted payload on the MUSES Platform. Image courtesy Teledyne Brown.
For more experiments and supplies being sent to the International Space Station, visit NASA’s page at https://www.nasa.gov/press-release/spacex-crs-15-briefings-and-events.
Reported by pilots for years, ‘colorful jets’ which are electrical discharges, occur in our upper atmosphere above thunderstorms. These “transient luminous event” have been difficult to confirm and/or study. The European Space Agency is at the forefront of monitoring these aerial events not seen by the naked eye. Often referred to as ‘red sprites’, ‘blue jets’, and ‘elves’ satellites have probed them and to-date they have only been observed from mountaintops observatories. Nothing conclusive. The International Space Station orbits around the equator often and is ready to assist in the capture of these phenomena. The Atmosphere-Space Interaction Monitor or ASIM will be among the packed SpaceX dragon payload, 5,800 pounds in all, going to the ISS aboard April 2nd’s SpaceX Falcon-9 CRS-14, Commercial Resupply Services mission.
From NASA’s Press Release:
‘The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor (ASIM) monitors such phenomena from the external payload platform of ESA’s Columbus Laboratory of the International Space Station. ASIM provides the most comprehensive global survey of transient luminous events and terrestrial gamma-ray flashes in the region of the atmosphere within and above severe thunderstorms, to help determine their physics, and how they relate to lightning. ASIM also quantifies the effects of gravity waves on the mesosphere, studies high-altitude cloud formation, and determines the characteristic of thunderstorms that make them effective in the perturbation of the high-altitude atmosphere. Any improvements in the knowledge of processes occurring in Earth’s atmosphere can help to improve atmospheric models, and hence predictions related to climatology and meteorology.’AI
Launching from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s Space Launch Complex 40 at 4:30 pm EDT from Florida. After the Dragon capsule is attached to the ISS, the unloading process will begin almost immediately. ASIM will be mounted on the Columbus laboratory on the ISS. It will confirm what many have speculated or known. Many mile-wide flashes approximately 11 miles above the Earth have been recorded by ESA Astronaut Andreas Mogensen, some reaching as high as 25 miles. The first clear recording was made by Astro Andreas over the Bay of Bengal at 17,895 MPH.
“The system (above) resembles a pinhole camera of old but repeated hundreds of times. A computer then reassembles the data into a useful image” says ESA’s Astrid Orr, Scientist from the Hague, Netherlands.
The Organization: The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor is a climate observatory for the International Space Station – ISS. It is developed by the ASIM consortium for ESA. The ASIM consortium is formed by Terma A/S, Technical University of Denmark, University of Bergen, University of Valencia, Polish Academy of Science Space Research Center, and OHB Italia. The Technical University of Denmark is leading the scientific advisory board to ESA and Terma A/S is the prime contractor under ESA for the payload development. Development started in 2010 and current launch is planned for April 2nd, 2018, with Falcon-9/Dragon by SpaceX.
Watch the News Briefing ‘What’s On Board’ live streaming on Sunday, April 1st, at 2:30 pm EDT from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. You can watch the launch at https://www.nasa.gov/nasalive Principal Investigator, or PI, Torsten Neubert, will brief the press and world on the science and technology for this project.
The objective is to study these events above severe thunderstorms and their role in the Earth’s atmosphere and climate.
Loaded into the Dragon’s Capsule ‘Trunk’ pictured in the lower center of the image is the ASIM Monitor.