Tuesday, April 17, 2007

THEMIS satellites launching and deploying

Ever wonder how a satellite is launched and deployed? This is a short preview (now a review) of the launching and deploying of NASA THEMIS mission's 5 satellites. THEMIS is a mission to investigate auroras and magnetic substorms. 5 satellites were placed on highly elliptical orbits, the furthest stretching up to 216000 km. A Delta II three stage nine solid boosters rocket was used for the launch. Prior to deploying, the satellites are spin-stabilized at about 16 RPM. Each satellite has 4 hydrazine thrusters used both for attitude and orbit control. 6 booms (4x20m and 2x5m) are used for electrical field measurements and another one (2m) for magnetic field measurements.

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