Jupiter Mission – Launch
Fri Aug 10th 2012 14:43:45
The Earth escape / Jupiter Ejection burn is complete but not without some drama from both an expected and an unexpected source.
The expected source was assorted wits at mission control. This entire project has been positively rife with references to the movie “2001: A Space Odyssey” and it’s sequel. It has managed to impact every aspect from the names of the ship (Discovery) and it’s on-board computer A.I. (Hal) to people referring to me as “Dave”.
Then at the time of our ejection burn one of the wits at mission control started “Also Sprach Zarathustra” playing on the ship’s audio system. Later as we entered cruise mode “The Blue Danube” began playing. followed by assorted works of Chopin and Strauss.
The unexpected source was Hal. He insists that our programmed ejection burn is incorrect. I’ve spoken with mission control and they assure me that HAL is wrong because his figures are based on old test data.
Hal says he is using the up to date live data about our orbital parameters and the direction, timing and thrust that mission control has programmed for us. He says that the planned ejection burn will not take us even close to Jupiter.
After a 5min 15sec burn 98.4% of our fuel remains. Mission control reports that we are now on course for Jupiter. Hal continues to disagree.
The escape burn left us with a semi major difference of 13 I turned the ship 90 degrees outward for a correction burn. That brought it down to 12.67 further corrections started to increase it so I stopped trying to correct it for now. This is another thing that we will have to address in our first mid course correction three months from now.
Hal is certain that we will have to address it much sooner than that.
The differences from the planned course in our actual course are not unexpected though I must admit that a semi major difference that large is unusual in the extreme. It’s also true that in a trip of over a billion miles it’s expected to be off at first.
This is why several mid course corrections are planned in the first place, so that we can adjust our course to one that more closely matches the planned orbit.
Filed under: Short Stories
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