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Sunday, January 11, 2004



Spirit Unfolds

Spirit is unfolded and ready to go much earlier than expected by NASA. To unfold the rover had to fire 12 pyros, six structural latches had to be engaged, and nine motorized mechanisms had to work. Chris Voorhees, a mechanical systems engineer who devised the maneuver said, the unfolding sequence was "the most complex sequence of deployments that has ever been done on a robotic spacecraft." He added, "She is asleep right now and resting on all sixes. The rover "now stands at full height and all six wheels are in their final position and ready to drive, said Jennifer Trosper, mission manager at NASA's Pasadena Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Yesterday NASA was to fire more pyros to sever the connections to the lander. Spirit has transmitted over 200 Mbits of data to Earth Friday, "10 times more than Pathfinder had the capability to do," noted Ms. Trosper. Tomorrow the rover will spend its time pivoting 120 degrees to avoid the possibility of damaging a solar panel on the airbag blocking the main path of the lander.

(More info: The Age.com)


- posted by Jim @ 10:15 EST