Dawn Maneuvering, Philae Radio Problems

Dawn Maneuvering, Philae Radio Problems

Ceres: After troubles that were traced to a flaking gimbal on ion engine 3, the Dawn spacecraft began the planned descent into the final, lowest survey orbit around Ceres.

Yes, there are three (3) ion engines! Awesome.

It will take a couple of weeks to complete the maneuver, at which point Dawn will start another series of observations from about 1500 KM.

Comet 67P/CG: Over at 67P/CG, Philae has not been heard from for more than ten days, and Rosetta has to keep its distance from the increasingly active dust as the comet heats up. From the last data received from Philae, it appears that one receiver and one transmitter are malfunctioning. If 50% are still working, that’s pretty robust, considering.

Otherwise the lander seems to still be functional, so it may be possible to reconfigure the radios and get some more data back. I mean, you go all the way out there, and take the trouble to land, you’d like to get at least a postcard back, no?

Pluto: Data should be flowing back from Pluto for the next year or so. The flyby was actually kind of spectacular, a flurry of activity crammed into a short time. But it will take months to get all that back to Earth.



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