Spacecraft Album

This is the Solar Maximum Mission spacecraft in flight. It was the first demonstration of on-orbit repair. The shuttle grabbed it and astronauts replaced a faulty attitude control subsytem module. The spacecraft flew an additional five years.

This is the FUSE Spacecraft. FUSE is, of course, an acronym which stands for the Far Ultraviolet Spectroscopic Explorer. Launched by a Delta rocket in 1999, FUSE is exploring the origin and evolution of galaxies, stars and solar systems. Recently it experienced a problem with the momentum wheels. Two of the four wheels stopped working and the mission was feared lost when the spacecraft pointing ability was compromised. But engineers at the control centers were able to perform a unique workaround which has enabled FUSE to continue its mission.

ORBCOMM is a constellation of satellites which will bring non-voice communication to people in remote areas. Things like paging and fax capabilities are provided by these small, low power satellites. They are launced in groups of eight and here is a stack undergoing test.

Here is an ORBCOMM spacecraft undergoing testing in an Anechoic Chamber. The antenna and one of the solar panels are shown deployed.

This is a drawing of the TOPEX spacecraft. TOPEX's mission is ocean topography, helping understand ocean circulation and its effect on the world's weather. TOPEX is one of the primary tools used in examining the El Nino efect. This drawing is innacurate in that the large white dish at the bottom is supposed to be pointing earthward since it is the primary instrument used to measure wave heights. But you get the idea. Launched in 1992, TOPEX is still returning important data to scientists. Not bad for a 5 year mission.

Here are Jamey and I in front of the TOPEX spacecraft as it is being prepared for Acoustic Testing at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. The gold color at the bottom is the thermal blankets on the spacecraft bus and the upper portion used a black thermal blanket material. In addition, some portions are covered in plastic as a contamination control issue.

This is an artist's conception of the X-34 vehicle. It was designed to be a demonstration vehicle for technologies that will supply the next generation space vehicle. It was to be a reusable, unmanned, launcher capable of landing at any suitable airstrip. But NASA cancelled the program in 1999.

This is the Compton Gamma Ray Observatory. We provided the Communications and Data Handling Subsystem for GRO.

This is the mission patch for ACRIMSAT, a small spacecraft that will study and measure the sun's energy. ACRIM stands for Active Cavity Radiometer Irradiance Monitor! It was launched on a Taurus rocket as a secondary payload in 1999.

Here is a cool little animation of ACRIM.

Here is a drawing of OrbView-4. It is an earth imaging satellite capable of one meter panchromatic imagery and four meter multi-spectral imagery. Unfortunately, it failed to achieve orbit due to a malfunction in the Taurus rocket during launch.

This is the BSAT-2 spacecraft. It launched in March of 2001. The BSAT-2a satellite was built for Japan's Broadcasting Satellite System Corporation (B-SAT) as the first of a pair of direct-to-home digital television broadcasting platforms. It is functioning nominally. The second satellite (BSAT-2b) was placed into a useless orbit when it's Ariane launcher second stage shut down prematurely. The replacement was successfully launched in 2003.

This is the SORCE spacecraft. SORCE stands for SOlar Radiation and Climate Experiment. The SORCE satellite carries four instruments to study and measure solar irradiance, the main source of energy in the Earth's atmosphere. The spacecraft was launched aboard Orbital's Pegasus rocket on January 25 on a mission that originated from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

We built the Galaxy Evolution Explorer (GALEX) satellite for NASA to explore the origin and evolution of galaxies, stars and heavy elements using an onboard ultraviolet telescope. The GALEX spacecraft was successfully launched on April 28, 2003 aboard a Pegasus XL rocket. The mission is planned to last approximately 28 months.

Orbital is partnered with Principal Investigator Dr. Christopher Russell of UCLA and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) and for a never-before-attempted interplanetary mission funded by NASA's Discovery Program. The mission, Orbital's first planetary space science program, will culminate in the rendezvous, orbit and study of the two largest known asteroids in our solar system, Vesta and Ceres. The primary scientific mission of the Dawn program is to advance our understanding of how the solar system was formed by studying the two asteroids located in the "main belt" between Mars and Jupiter. Earth-based studies indicate that the two protoplanets have very different compositions and have remained intact since their formation more than 4.6 billion years ago. The Dawn spacecraft will rendezvous with and orbit Vesta for one year and conduct remote sensing observations using a suite of instruments. It will then leave Vesta and travel to Ceres and make the same types of measurements. The Dawn spacecraft will be the first purely scientific mission powered by ion propulsion, the world's most advanced and efficient space propulsion technology. Ion propulsion will provide the additional velocity needed to reach Vesta once the spacecraft separates from its Delta rocket. Ion propulsion will also be used during asteroid proximity operations to raise and lower the spacecraft's orbit.