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View Full Version : Discussion: Ulysses is Running Out of Power



Fraser
2004-Mar-17, 06:26 PM
SUMMARY: The NASA/ESA Ulysses spacecraft's power is starting to run down, and soon it won't have enough to keep itself warm. When the spacecraft was first launched in 1990 to study the Sun, its reactor produced 285 watts of power, but now almost 14 years later, it's down to 207 watts. If it gets too much lower, the spacecraft won't be able to operate the heaters that keep the fuel flowing. Without this fuel, it won't be able to orient its main antenna towards the Earth to transfer data.

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

antoniseb
2004-Mar-17, 06:29 PM
Ulysses is one of the under-reported active space missions, but it is an interesting one because it goes up out of the plane of the planetary orbits and can examine the regions above the sun's poles sometimes.

From this story it looks like if it survives long enough, this next perihelion passage will be its last one as a communicating device. When the space budget opens up a bit, NASA or ESA should launch a more advanced version of this probe.

zephyr46
2004-Mar-18, 04:02 AM
These problems sound familiar! Hydrozine, Galileo, so we'll just crash it it to Juipiter. RTG Pioneer and Voyager, well they still work, but the signal is about that of a transistor, and the are a little far away, so let em go.

The exploration of the solar system should be designed to last. Hydrozine refulling missions, RTG replace ments and a pony express of retransmitting probes through out the solar system.

If companies and scientists can recycle platforms, maybe they can make them upgradable, and certainly refuelable.

And just worth mentioning, the interplanetary internet would be good if each participating probe had a concam or two.

Good luck Ulysses. If the record is anything to stand by, (SOHO, SPIRIT) chance has as much to do with success as science.

Nick4
2004-Mar-20, 05:43 PM
We could sent anothe one up.

damienpaul
2004-Mar-20, 11:18 PM
That would be ideal Nick, but not just one, many. However, its getting the funding and getting those with the keys to teh funding to cooperate...