Beagle 2 Bites Back

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zavvy

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<b>Beagle 2 Bites Back</b><br /><br /><i>Mars lander team answers its critics</i><br /><br />LINK<br /><br />The Beagle 2 mission team has released its own report about what went wrong with the ill-fated Mars lander. The European Space Agency (ESA) reviewed the mission earlier this year and blamed poor management of funds for the failure. But the UK team concludes that the most likely cause of Beagle 2's demise was the fact that the planet's atmosphere turned out to be thinner than expected, so the craft was unable to brake hard enough to land safely.<br /><br />Reconstructing Beagle 2's last moments is not an easy task. The 40-million (US$72-million) lander was designed to open like a pocket watch once it reached the martian surface, then deploy an antenna to beam news of its safe arrival back to Earth. But no signal was heard from the craft after its separation from the mother ship Mars Express on 19 December 2003, and satellites orbiting the planet have so far failed to spot debris from any crash.<br /><br />So the Beagle 2 team, led by mission manager Mark Sims of the University of Leicester and including collaborators from the Open University in Milton Keynes and engineering firm EADS Astrium, reviewed the craft's pre-launch test results to work out what went wrong.<br /><br />The team rules out two main theories for the loss of Beagle 2: they conclude that there is no reason to suspect that the main parachute failed to deploy, or that the craft's protective heat shield collided with the lander after separation.<br /><br />It points out that after Beagle 2 had detached from Mars Express, the orbiting craft detected that the martian atmosphere was much thinner than expected. This means the lander may not have been able to brake sufficiently during its descent.<br /><br />But the team also admits that failure of the airbags cannot be ruled out, and concedes that airbag tests were "less in numbe
 
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siarad

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The two USA landers had a heavy time due to reduced atmosphere too I think.
 
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nacnud

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I think in the case of beagle 2 the atmosphere was half as dense as expected and I think that the parachutes were triggered by pressure sensor the resulting lower opening altitude would not give enough time for the parachute to slow down the craft enough and splat, you have an ex beagle.<br /><br />IIRC...<br />
 
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mikejz

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Just wondering, what would of been the added cost of a telemetry system during landing? Whatever it would of been--it sure would of been worth it.
 
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siarad

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Beagle 2 was not an 'official' project but the dream of one man who pushed it through come what may, he gatecrashed an ESA meeting! How many of us realise our dreams. Absolutely everything had to be made including the bio-safety assembly facility & test facilities. The USA has these standing by ready to be used. All money raising by raffles, fêtes & sponsorship took time & energy even his house was mortgaged on which he still owes. I guess 'cos of this not everything was done & now, on failure, the UK gov. has decided to more support future efforts. NASA has not replied to Professor Colin Pillinger on a possible try.<br />However the micro miniaturised mass spectrometer is enabling medical usages previously impossible.
 
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shuttle_rtf

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I feel really sorry for Professor Colin Pillinger. The British Gov has never really got behind anything "space-wise" in ages. But his passion was infectious, and I really felt for him when B2 ended with a splat.<br /><br />Remember Hotol by British Aerospace? That would have been a beast of a shuttle/space plane - while looking as sexy as Concorde. Gov didn't want to splash any cash then either.
 
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space_dreamer

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Your right there! <br /><br />Hotol would have been amazing and newer design the twin engine ‘skylon’ would have been even better still!<br /><br />If Thatcher had funded the program in the 80s it would be a mature SSTO space plane and would completely dominate the satellite launch market. <br /><br />However the US would probably have kept the X30 program going to compete!<br /><br />The X30 and Hotol/skylon could have raced from London to Sidney in two Hours!<br /><br />And French Ariane rockets (and soyuz) would be complete obsolete, lol<br /><br />If only, if only…<br /><br /> <br /><br /><br /> <br /><br />
 
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space_dreamer

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In the early 1990s, some of the personnel from the HOTOL project founded a new company - Reaction Engines Ltd - in order to continue work on the design. This resulted in Skylon, a new spaceplane design which improves on that of HOTOL.<br /><br />Reaction Engines were not allowed to use the HOTOL RB454 engines, as they were still classified TOP SECRET. A new engine was designed and called SABRE (Synergic Air Breathing Engine). These engines would use Liquid Hydrogen and air until Skylon reached Mach 5.5, then switch to an onboard supply of Liquid Oxygen for the final ascent to orbit.<br /><br />Skylon would be constructed from Carbon Fibre, with aluminium fuel tanks and a ceramic "aeroshell" to protect the craft from the heat of re-entry. A payload bay measuring 12.3 x 4.6 meters would allow the payload to use standard air transport containers, increasing ease of use. Skylon could take 12 tonnes of payload to an Equatorial Orbit, or 9.5 tonnes to the International Space Station.<br /><br />Unlike many other projects, Skylon is designed to be operated by commercial companies rather than Government space agencies. This has resulted in a design similar to that of a normal aircraft, to allow a turnaround of only 2 days between flights, rather than several weeks, as with the Space Shuttle. Operating on a commercial basis could also reduce the price of launches from $150 Million for a 2-3 tonne satellite to $10 Million for all cargo. Eventually, costs could fall to allow a passenger seat to cost only $100, 000, opening the way for space tourism.<br /> <br />If only...<br />
 
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space_dreamer

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I hate the fact that in UK politics, space is a total non issue.<br /><br />We aren’t even a proper member of ESA!<br /><br />It’s embarrassing, pathetic and stupid.<br />
 
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siarad

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I'm with you just look at the things the UK has invented.<br />Jet engine, patent given to the USA<br />Jetliner, scary problems with Comet allowed the USA to jump in<br />Swingwing aircraft, laughed at here USA needed to get it going<br />Vertical takeoff, USA buying power again brought it to fruition.<br />Supersonic jetliner, USA did it's best to kill it. Was profitable here but France killed it 'cos theirs wasn't profitable, all or nothing was the co-operative agreement <br />We're just too small a nation to compete in the modern world & the laughable EU doesn't in any way compare to the USA.<br />Some of our best brains in the semi-conductor industry during the 1970's went to the USA to start or run companies. There's just a size thing.<br />The Cambridge CPU design company, forgotten name age showing, did the right thing in designing but concentrating on licencing to be successful. Intel use it, masses of mobile phones & car electronics too. <br />We need to find that sort of way for other industries
 
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nacnud

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I think Rolls Royce have managed to do OK with the jet engine.<br /><br />The Tornado and the Harrier both turned out to be very capable aircraft, as I'm sure the Eurofighter will be.<br /><br />The chip company your thinking of is ARM and their doing very nicely thank you.<br /><br />Why do we beat ourselves up so much about might have beens and gloss over the successes we do have? Currently our biotech is world class, and thanks our pragmatic approach and to a lesser extent to bush banning the US from even getting involved in many areas it looks set to stay that way for a long time to come.<br />
 
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