NASA is celebrating its state-of-the-art launch Mars today (July 30), even engineers face a glitch that left the spacecraft in a protective “safe mode” shortly after takeoff.
March 2020 Perseverance Rover launched to the Red Planet at 7:50 am EDT (1150 GMT), an Atlas V rocket rider into space from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida. The rover experienced minor communications and temperature glitches after launch, but issues are not expected to damage the entire mission, NASA officials said.
“She was Amazing launch, in time, “said NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine at a post-launch news conference.”; I think we are in good shape. It was a beautiful day for NASA. “
Live Updates: The launch of NASA’s Perseverance on Mars Rover in real time!
Shortly after the conference, NASA confirmed that Perseverance went down in a “safe mode” due to an unexpected difference in temperature.
“The data indicates that the spacecraft had entered a state known as safe mode, likely because part of the spacecraft was slightly colder than expected while Mars 2020 was in the shadow of Earth,” they said. NASA officials in a statement. “All temperatures are now nominal and the spacecraft is out of the shadow of Earth.”
Related: NASA’s Mars Perseverance of the rover to the Red Planet (photos)
Hiccups after launch
During today’s post-launch news conference, the team received word that one issue, a standing communications issue, has been resolved. In the first few hours after launch, although mission personnel were able to signal that the spacecraft was sending home, it was not being processed correctly.
However, that situation did not cause much concern, Matt Wallace, the deputy project manager for Mars 2020 with him NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California, he said during the briefing. The poor communication was caused by the fact that NASA relied on a system called the Deep Space Network to communicate with Perseverance even shortly after launch, when the spacecraft is not yet so deep in space.
And, because Deep Space Network it is made up of massive antennas equipped with super sensitive receivers, the signal from a spacecraft so close to the network can end up blasting the system, like someone shouting directly into the ear. Engineers needed to adjust the network settings in order to actually process the information coming from the spacecraft.
“As the administrator was speaking, I simply received a test that we were able to capture on that telemetry,” Wallace said. “All the indications we have – and still have a few – are that the spacecraft is good.”
NASA’s Curiosity Rover faced a similar issue during its launch in 2011, Wallace said. “It’s something we’ve seen before with other Mars missions,” Bridenstine said. “This is unusual. Everything is going according to plan.”
The mission team revealed a second hiccup after the launch shortly afterwards at the news conference: Perseverance has gone in safe mode.
When the spacecraft was slightly colder than expected from passing through the shadow of Earth, it automatically went into that state, according to the NASA statement, although the spacecraft’s temperature recovered quickly and it’s not about the team.
Wallace stressed that such a status should not harm the mission as a whole. The safe mode is, as the name implies, designed to be safe for the spacecraft to be currently.
“The spacecraft is happily there,” Wallace said. “The team is working through that telemetry, they’re going to look at the rest of the spacecraft’s strength. So far, everything I’ve seen looks good.”
Perseverance is scheduled to fly straight and steady for the next two weeks, anyway, he said, so the team has time for the spacecraft to return to normal operating mode before adjustment of the first trajectory required of his journey.
A very nice launch
The launch itself went smoothly, with usual quiet bills in mission control rooms, despite an earthquake that shook southern California, including NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, about 20 a minute before the rocket fired in Florida.
Today’s removal marked an important victory for the agency, which was concerned that the measures imposed to reduce the spread of the Fund coronavirus pandemic can slow preparations for launch enough that Perseverance can skip its three-week window for launch, which would depend on orbital trajectories.
Another comparable opportunity will not come again until 2022; if this 26-month delay had occurred, it would have cost the agency an extra $ 500 million, according to Bridenstine, on an already difficult mission.
“[It was] adversity all the way, but that goes for any project of this nature, “Bridenstine said of pandemic fighting, which included a cracked heat shield and the late addition of a complicated helicopter ride. “Then you put on top of that coronavirus … I’m not going to lie, it’s a challenge. It’s very stressful. But look, the teams made it happen.”
But, despite previous delays that forced the launch more than a week into its window, the spacecraft exploded during its first shot from its first countdown.
“It was really a team effort. And in any case, everyone stood up and said, ‘Yes, we have to do what we can to help,'” said Lori Glaze, director of the planetary science division. “Somehow, we made it through.”
Now, the spacecraft and its human team back to Earth need to make it through a seven-month journey into deep space to reach the Red Planet. As soon as the spacecraft arrives on Mars, it will pass through it A notoriously dangerous process of entry, descent and descent.
That process will unfold on February 18, 2021.
Email Meghan Bartels at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @meghanbartels. Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom and on Facebook.