“Did you watch it?”

Did I watch it?

I’ve been asked about a dozen times since Phoenix landed if I watched the landing.

Coverage was available, after all, on NASA-TV (both satellite and web feeds), and the Science Channel ran Mars footage all night, including covering the NASA TV feed.  I’ve worked on a lot of Mars Stuff, and indeed Phoenix runs VxWorks 5.2 for Rad6000, a direct product of a handful of folks at Loral & JPL, and us 3 chickens at WRS (Brian, Lisa and I; I  was the most-junior member of the engineering team).

But… Monaco, Indy, and Nascar all had big races going, and all the normal stuff of the Memorial Day Weekend – so  many things to do.  Did I watch it?

In answer… reprinted with the author’s  permission (I wrote it after all) a blow-by-blow account from a personal web log of an engineer who’s worked on a lot of Mars stuff:

——  reprinted with permission from the original author, see copymark info.
[Editorial comment - this blog was updated every few minutes, each [EDIT] mark is between 1 and 5 minutes apart.]

MARS:  EDL data flow starts in about 2 minutes.
[edit]Mars Ody data stream: verified.
[edit]Cruise stage separation…
[edit]verified.  UHF signal acquired.  Separation complete, craft on course.
[edit]T-3:30 atmospheric entry
[edit]MRO link-up soon.  t-10:00 touchdown
[edit]MRO data link: confirmed 
8K data rate… confirmed.

Entering atmosphere…. in 30.. 29…
Seven Minutes Of Terror: begin now.

the next few minutes, we will lose COMS as the craft generates a plasma
shock wave by it’s heat shield burning it’s way through the atmosphere.
Once we slow enough and cool down, COMS will be re-established.

Ody: drop in signal, but present.

Phoenix: at peak heating
[edit]Phoenix: we’re ready to re-establish direct COMS with Phoenix.  We never lost dopler monitor from Ody.

4..3..2..1…  32K switch detected, ODY has carrier,  Parachute deployed.

DATA LOCK-UP…. [Control room goes wild] Ground Velo: 90M/S
[edit]…. aproaching.

tick… tick….

60M/S …. 

tick… tick…

Altitude Convergence… RADAR RELIABLE @ 2000M
control room goes wild

Gravity turn detected.

… approach… slowing… not much though….

WE’RE THERE!  CONGRATULATIONS to MPL’s successful landing
on Mars.

EDL COM:  standing by…


Folks, it’s time for some champagne!
[original work protected by creative-commons copyright. no reprinting w/o original author's permission]

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