[extropy-chat] Dawn news

Amara Graps amara at amara.com
Fri Apr 23 19:30:07 UTC 2004

Hi.. some news from the Dawn mission. Some of you know that one of the
projects I work on at my INAF job is activities relating to the
infrared spectrometer ('VIR'), to be flown to the asteroid belt on
Dawn. There are three instruments on Dawn, so it is odd be 1/3 of a
NASA space mission. It is also very exciting for me, since is the
first time I've been involved in a  space mission from almost the
beginning.  I spent the last days in Florence in meetings with 40
engineers, scientists, etc, from NASA, from other companies in the US
and our Italian teams, and the news is that VIR passed (we are the
first out of the three)  the Critical Design Review, a meeting where
an independent board  evaluates every aspect of your design for two
days, and then says 'yes' or 'no' you can build the instrument (and
they give a detailed review of what to focus on so that it gets built,
and on time. 'Design' is a general word for 500 pages (at the top
level, 10 times that number underneath) of documents related  to
parts, modules, components, procurement lists, models, testing, etc.
Gruelling, but we passed. We have a tight schedule though, since we
must deliver the instrument for spacecraft integration in one year.
Launch is in 2006.

In the future, I'll say more about why one might want to visit some
asteroids in the asteroid belt.

Ciao for now.



Amara Graps, PhD
Istituto di Fisica dello Spazio Interplanetario (IFSI)
Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF),
Adjunct Assistant Professor Astronomy, AUR,
Roma, ITALIA     Amara.Graps at ifsi.rm.cnr.it

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