APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 09)

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APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 09)

Post by APOD Robot » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:06 am

Image The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite

Explanation: In 1984, high above the Earth's surface, an astronaut captured a satellite. It was the second satellite captured that mission. Pictured above, astronaut Dale A. Gardner flies free using the Manned Maneuvering Unit and begins to attach a control device dubbed the Stinger to the rotating Westar 6 satellite. Communications satellite Westar 6 had suffered a rocket malfunction that left it unable to reach its intended high geosynchronous orbit. Both the previously caught Palapa B-2 satellite and the Westar 6 satellite were guided into the cargo bay of the Space Shuttle Discovery and returned to Earth. Westar 6 was subsequently refurbished and sold.

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Re: APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 0

Post by geckzilla » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:27 am

Oi, I was still crying for my mommy and crawling around in my diapers when this photo was taken.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Re: APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 0

Post by Bushie » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:14 am

I remember this same photo being posted a couple of years back, reminds me of the movie 'Space Cowboys'

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Re: APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 0

Post by Boomer12k » Sun Dec 09, 2012 6:54 am

When I was a lad of 5 or 6, I think, we were at the State Fair. There was a woman on stage, and she was talking about a communication satellite, one of the first, I am not sure any more which one, but I thought it was Telstar, but I would have been 9. But I remember being very shy and younger. I was five in '58. Which by Wikipedia would have been Project Score. Funny how time confuses the mind. Anyway, I was picked to go on stage and sing a song and it was relayed back to us from the satellite over the speakers. So, YUP, I'm famous, my first contribution to Science! LOL!!!

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Re: APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 0

Post by ta152h0 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 7:50 am

hate it when professors do that. My father was a ME professor and he did that with me too. At the end of the lecture, and i consider APOD a lecture , he always left you hanging with the next question. In this case, where is Westar 6 now ?
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Re: APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 0

Post by gurky » Sun Dec 09, 2012 9:27 am

I assume the astronaut must have been on a long leash but I don't see one. Or was he
free flying?

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Re: APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 0

Post by neufer » Sun Dec 09, 2012 12:35 pm

gurky wrote:
I assume the astronaut must have been on a long leash but I don't see one. Or was he free flying?
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
Click to play embedded YouTube video.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westar wrote:
<<Westar was the name for the fleet of geosynchronous communications satellites operating in the C band which were launched by Western Union from 1974 to 1984. There were seven Westar satellites in all, with five of them launched and operating under the Westar name. Westar 6, also an HS-376 based satellite, was launched from STS-41-B on February 3, 1984, to be put into service afterward, but the perigee kick motor (also known as the Payload Assist Module, or PAM) on the satellite failed during its approach to geosynchronous orbit, placing it at an improper and inoperable low Earth orbit. It was retrieved on November 16, 1984, by the STS-51-A mission of NASA's Space Shuttle, where it was brought back to earth. It was then resold to AsiaSat in Hong Kong, who refurbished it and relaunched it on April 7, 1990 as AsiaSat 1. The Space Shuttle mission to retrieve Westar 6, as well as the Palapa B2 satellite which shared the launch payload with Westar 6, was funded by the insurance companies that insured the launch of those two satellites. An on-ground spare satellite to Westar 6, Westar 6S, was in development by Western Union and Hughes when Western Union decided to divest themselves of their telecommunications-based assets starting in the early 1980s after suffering heavy financial losses. This resulted in Western Union selling the Westar satellite fleet and operations to Hughes in 1988.>>
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Re: APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 0

Post by sinanipek » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:33 pm

neufer wrote:
gurky wrote:
I assume the astronaut must have been on a long leash but I don't see one. Or was he free flying?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=92ZRVlKuc0U
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4EFpsmDDXLg

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Westar

Did she say the MMU enables the astronot to return to Earth? Is it possible for an astronot to return to Earth by using just this kind of equipment?

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Re: APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 0

Post by neufer » Sun Dec 09, 2012 3:52 pm

sinanipek wrote:
Did she say the MMU enables the astronaut to return to Earth?
Is it possible for an astronaut to return to Earth by using just this kind of equipment?
Something more powerful with a heat shield is required:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crew_Return_Vehicle
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Re: APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 0

Post by Skytreker » Sun Dec 09, 2012 4:19 pm

It's a shame that NASA abandoned the MMU after proving the concept viable.

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Re: APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 0

Post by Chris Peterson » Sun Dec 09, 2012 4:57 pm

Skytreker wrote:It's a shame that NASA abandoned the MMU after proving the concept viable.
They didn't "abandon" it. They tested a design, found it overly complex, risky, and generally not useful in its original form. The result was a new design which is currently in use- and which will no doubt continue to evolve with technology and use requirements.
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Re: APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 0

Post by neufer » Sun Dec 09, 2012 5:09 pm

Skytreker wrote:
It's a shame that NASA abandoned the MMU after proving the concept viable.
Image
For what purpose other than play Sanford & Son for the Chinese :?:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manned_Maneuvering_Unit wrote:
<<After the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster, the MMU was judged too risky for further use and it was found many activities planned for the MMU could be done effectively with manipulator arms or traditional tethered EVAs. NASA also discontinued using the Shuttle for commercial satellite contracts, and the military discontinued the use of the Shuttle, eliminating the main potential uses. Although the MMU was envisioned as a natural aid for constructing the International Space Station, with its retirement, NASA developed different tethered spacewalk approaches. Additionally, the MMU gas ejecta was considered too damaging for the only other ongoing task, upkeep of the Hubble Space Telescope.>>
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Re: APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 0

Post by Skytreker » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:20 pm

Well the MMU was way cooler than any robotic arm would ever be. And all these tethers attaching the astronauts to the shuttle/station and all the instruments to the astronaut are just plain ugly. Making the EVA guys look like pregnant shrimps with all these "tentacles" coming out from their bellies. I recon that flying to any point of the now enormous ISS is far superior and much more inspiring, than crawling like snails. No one gets inspired by crawling astronauts, having to reattach every other step.

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Re: APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 0

Post by ta152h0 » Sun Dec 09, 2012 8:59 pm

less inspiring is an astronaut floating in space with no gas to get back. Bye bye is not inspiring at all, specially for those engineers that were tasked with designing a fail safe system and Murphy hits. Looks great in movies but it is better to look clumsy then dead on the moon
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Re: APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 0

Post by Anthony Barreiro » Mon Dec 10, 2012 6:44 pm

Skytreker wrote:Well the MMU was way cooler than any robotic arm would ever be. And all these tethers attaching the astronauts to the shuttle/station and all the instruments to the astronaut are just plain ugly. Making the EVA guys look like pregnant shrimps with all these "tentacles" coming out from their bellies. I recon that flying to any point of the now enormous ISS is far superior and much more inspiring, than crawling like snails. No one gets inspired by crawling astronauts, having to reattach every other step.
You touch on perhaps the fundamental underlying tension in the space program generally and human space flight in particular. Since the days of the cold war and the space race between the USA and USSR, our satellites, human missions, and probes to other planets have had several very different and often conflicting goals: commerce, scientific exploration, and national prestige (and now corporate and even personal prestige). Without a doubt, pictures of astronauts, cosmonauts, taikonauts, etc. flying around in space suits makes the best TV footage. But boring robots usually do the best work.
May all beings be happy, peaceful, and free.

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Re: APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 0

Post by Borc » Tue Dec 11, 2012 9:11 am

I disagree about robots being able to do better work. Not always. Curiosity, for example, is a brilliant AMAZING piece of machinery which was(is) a huge stem forward in exploration of our solar system, however having a team of geologists with microscopes on the surface of Mars and the subsequent sample return would provide an enormous amount of information.

As far as the spaceship man spacesuits being cooler than tethered space walks: I agree. That stuff was AWESOME. I feel vertigo like im looking off a cliff face just thinking about being untethered floating in orbit. Wicked cool stuff.
That doesn't mean it's the right thing to do. Loosing an astronaut to deep space would be bad press. Bad press sets scence back. the XDF and curiosity and all the other amazing fantastic things we are learning are plenty inspiring for people without loosing a person to deep space. ;D

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Re: APOD: The Astronaut Who Captured a Satellite (2012 Dec 0

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Dec 11, 2012 2:52 pm

Borc wrote:I disagree about robots being able to do better work. Not always. Curiosity, for example, is a brilliant AMAZING piece of machinery which was(is) a huge stem forward in exploration of our solar system, however having a team of geologists with microscopes on the surface of Mars and the subsequent sample return would provide an enormous amount of information.
Possibly. But sending a team of geologists with a well equipped laboratory is beyond our economic means, and marginally beyond our technical means. Furthermore, if the ISS has taught us anything, it is that we simply do not know how to operate efficiently away from the Earth. The reason that practically no science has been done with the ISS is because it takes everything we have just to maintain the thing. With our current technology, a team of geologists on Mars would be spending nearly all of their time keeping their station working, cleaning out toilets, patching electronics. And microscopes are only so useful. What is required is exactly the same sort of instruments we put on our robots. It is our robots- at comparatively low cost- that will determine what kind of lab to take if we get to the point where a manned mission makes sense.

There's nothing to suggest that well designed semi-autonomous robots, managed remotely, don't do a much better job than people on site could do with our current limitations.
Chris

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