Status Report

NASA Genesis Mission Report 8 September 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
September 8, 2004
Filed under , ,
NASA Genesis Mission Report 8 September 2004

The Genesis sample return capsule entered Earth’s
atmosphere at 9:52:47 MDT and entered the preplanned entry
ellipse in the Utah Test and Training Range as predicted.
However, the Genesis capsule, as a result of its parachute
not deploying, impacted the ground at a speed of 311
kilometers per hour (193 mph). The impact occurred near
Granite Peak on a remote portion of the range. No people or
structures were anywhere near the area.

“We have the capsule,” said Genesis project manager Don
Sweetnam of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena,
Calif. “It is on the ground. We have previously written
procedures and tools at our disposal for such an event. We
are beginning capsule recovery operations at this time.”

By the time the capsule entered Earth’s atmosphere, the
flight crews tasked to capture Genesis were already in the
air. Once it was confirmed the capsule touched down out on
the range, the flight crews were guided toward the site to
initiate a previously developed contingency plan. They landed
close to the capsule and per the plan, began to document the
capsule and the area.

“For the velocity of the impact, I thought there was
surprisingly little damage, said Roy Haggard of Vertigo Inc.,
Lake Elsinore, Calif., who took part in the initial
reconnaissance of the capsule. “I observed the capsule
penetrated the soil about 50 percent of its diameter. The
shell had been breached about three inches and I could see
the science canister inside and that also appeared to have a
small breach,” he said.

The safety of recovery personnel has been the top priority.
The capsule’s separation charge had to be confirmed safe
before the capsule could be moved. The recovery team is in
the process of preparing to move the capsule to a clean room.
The Genesis mission was launched in August 2001 on a journey
to capture samples from the storehouse of 99 percent of all
the material in our solar system — the sun. The samples of
solar wind particles, collected on ultra-pure wafers of gold,
sapphire, silicon and diamond were designed to be returned
for analysis by Earth-bound scientists.

JPL manages the Genesis mission for NASA’s Science Mission
Directorate, Washington. Lockheed Martin Space Systems,
Denver, developed and operated the spacecraft. JPL is a
division of the California Institute of Technology.

For more information about Genesis on the Internet, visit

SpaceRef staff editor.