View Full Version : Discussion: Partial Fix for SOHO

2003-Jul-08, 07:28 PM
SUMMARY: After performing several tests on the troubled SOHO spacecraft, engineers believe they have a solution to ensure that the spacecraft doesn't have any blackout periods. The pointing mechanism on SOHO's high-gain antenna malfunctioned on June 27, 2003. Controllers have figured out a way to use larger ground-based receivers which can receive data from the low-gain antenna for a longer period, and receive all the data that SOHO needs to send. Engineers will continue to fix the problem with the high-gain antenna's motor.

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2005-Oct-21, 08:58 AM
Is it fair to say that in missions like these malfunctions and disruptions are a way of life and that really its only the ingenuity of the engineers here back on Earth to deal with these sort of situations as they arise? In other words, that we can't escape the inevitability of malfunctions, like the one mentioned above, occuring, and that we can only rely on the technical smarts of the engineers involved in the mission in question.

2005-Oct-21, 02:09 PM
SOHO has far outlived its planned lifetime and in fact has achieved something unprecedented so far as I know, starting out as a scientific research satellite and ending up as, effectively, an operational space weather satellite.

But, yes, space is a very harsh environment, and every spacecraft is going to fail eventually. Most are only designed to last 3-5 years, though since they have an extremely high probability of lasting that long, there's a respectable probability of lasting significantly longer. Most NASA spacecraft either fail very early on or last quite a long time - there's not much intebetween.