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Re: EROS Rendezvous: NEAR Mission Problems

On Mon, 21 Dec 1998, Dr Thomas A Clark (W3IWI) wrote:

> Last night, the NEAR mission to rendezvous with the asteroid EROS
> was scheduled to have a final 20 minute burn of the bi-propellant
> motor to put the spacecraft into EROS orbit. The following note
> appears on the NEAR project web site at URL 
>        http://near.jhuapl.edu/ 
> > NEAR Rendezvous Burn Aborted 
> > 
> >    The first rendezvous burn of the NEAR spacecraft's bipropellant 
> >    engine, scheduled for Dec. 20, at 5 p.m. EST, was not completed 
> >    as planned. Except for brief communication shortly after the 
> >    scheduled 20-minute burn period, contact with the spacecraft 
> >    has been lost. Mission Operations is now working to reestablish 
> >    contact based on expectations that NEAR has entered safe mode 
> >    after the burn was aborted by the spacecraft. 
> The story I hear is that communications were abruptly lost after ~2 
> seconds of the planned 20 minute motor burn. The last weekly status
> report on 18 Dec gives no hints of any problems, as seen in 
>    http://near.jhuapl.edu/Reports/WeeklyStatus/1998-12-18.txt 
> Some of my colleagues here at GSFC who were involved when a similar 
> incident killed the Mars mission a few years ago are expressing a 
> strange feeling of deja vu.
> 73, Tom

 Hope this is just a communications glitch. NEAR is one of those missions
I'd like to see succeed.


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