Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




DRAGON SPACE
Yinghuo Was Worth It
by Morris Jones
Sydney, Australia (SPX) Nov 17, 2011


Like the tip of an iceberg, the small Yinhuo spacecraft is just one part of a larger program, with infrastructure, personnel, and knowledge. The rest of this program is on the ground, and it remains intact.

The loss of Russia's Phobos-Grunt mission has shocked the spaceflight community. There's been plenty of attention placed on this high-profile mission, but relatively little coverage of its piggyback payload, Yinghuo-1. This small satellite was set to become China's first Mars mission. The loss of Phobos-Grunt ended the mission of Yinghuo at the same time.

China's state media were fairly quick and frank to declare Yinghuo lost alongside Phobos-Grunt. In fact, they seemed to be far more direct in reporting the loss of the two spacecraft than Russia's own officials. Having stated this, there was no more reportage on Yinghuo-1.

This is understandable for three main reasons. There was little more that could be said about the fate of the probe, and little incentive to over-report on bad news. Also, China's aerospace reporters were preoccupied with another major story.

As Yinghuo was launched, China's Tiangong 1 space laboratory and Shenzhou 8 spacecraft were successfully operating in orbit. These twin missions have been the real stars of China's recent space activities, and they truly deserve the limelight.

But let's return to Yinghuo-1, which remains stored inside a truss structure beneath Phobos-Grunt. The two spacecraft will probably make an uncontrolled re-entry before the end of the year.

Yinghuo never even got a chance to unfurl its solar panels or perform any real operations in space. It would be tempting to declare this mission a total failure, but this is both unfair and untrue.

Yinhuo-1 was a fairly low-cost and low-key way for China to begin its planetary exploration program. If the program is treated as an exercise in starting such a program, it should be considered successful. Chinese engineers were able to design and assemble a flight-ready spacecraft.

They forged international partnerships for acquiring instrumentation. They developed procedures for controlling the spacecraft and analyzing its data. They probably uncovered technical and procedural gremlins along the way, and learned to defeat them.

Like the tip of an iceberg, the small Yinhuo spacecraft is just one part of a larger program, with infrastructure, personnel, and knowledge. The rest of this program is on the ground, and it remains intact.

China has openly stated that it plans to launch its own independent Mars missions in the future. The experience gained with Yinhuo-1 will help it to plan those missions, and probably improve their chances of success.

Let's not forget that Mars remains a difficult target. Missions to the red planet almost seem jinxed, with a high rate of failure.

In recent years, we have witnessed high-profile failures such as NASA's Mars Climate Orbiter and Mars Polar Lander, which both failed on arrival.

Britain's Beagle 2 lander and Japan's Nozomi orbiter both failed. China had to expect a Mars mission failure at some point. It's probably better to lose a small probe than a larger one.

There's another factor to remember. Although Yinghuo-1 never made it to Mars, we can't say that it wasn't a potentially successful mission. If Phobos-Grunt had performed successfully after reaching Mars, Yinghuo could have been deployed into orbit.

No, there's no chance of releasing Yinghuo into Earth orbit for an alternative mission. It's lost. But the experience gained from developing this mission made it worthwhile.

Dr Morris Jones is an Australian space analyst and writer. Email morrisjonesNOSPAMhotmail.com. Replace NOSPAM with @ to send email. Dr Jones will answer media inquiries.

.


Related Links
-
The Chinese Space Program - News, Policy and Technology
China News from SinoDaily.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





DRAGON SPACE
Why China in space is a blessing to the world
Beijing (XNA) Nov 16, 2011
Mastery of know-how is not always solid until proven by repeated experiments. With a string of sophisticated maneuvers, docking, de-linking and re-docking, as part of its current Shenzhou-8 space mission, China has laid a solid stepping stone for deep space exploration. The autonomous docking know-how now enables China to build space stations, re-supply them, transfer astronauts and rescue them. ... read more


DRAGON SPACE
LRO Camera Team Releases High Resolution Global Topographic Map of Moon

Mystery of the Lunar Ionosphere

Ancient Lunar Dynamo May Explain Magnetized Moon Rocks

Ancient Lunar Dynamo May Explain Magnetized Moon Rocks

DRAGON SPACE
'Frustration' in Europe over joint Mars probe: NASA

NASA readies launch of 'dream machine' to Mars

Contact with Russian Mars probe 'unlikely' - expert

Mars explorers will include women, experts say

DRAGON SPACE
Weightless US teachers eye giant science leap

Allianz and International Space Transport Association partner in space tourism industry

US honors astronauts for pioneering space flights

Raytheon and Petrofac Partner to Provide Water Survival Training at NASA

DRAGON SPACE
China launches two satellites: state media

Shenzhou-8 departs from in-orbit lab, ready for return

China's spacecraft comes back to Earth

Shenzhou for Dummies

DRAGON SPACE
New Trio Welcomed Aboard Station, Gets to Work

Maintaining Crew Health One Step at a Time

Russian spacecraft delivers new crew to ISS

Soyuz Docks At ISS, Hatch Opened

DRAGON SPACE
Mobile Launcher Moves to Launch Pad

Rocket engineer Wolfgang Jung a logistics expert for space science

Arianespace to launch satellite for DIRECTV Latin America

Delta Mariner offloads launch components at Vandenberg

DRAGON SPACE
Exo planet count tops 700

Giant planet ejected from the solar system

Three New Planets and a Mystery Object Discovered Outside Our Solar System

Dwarf planet sized up accurately as it blocks light of faint star

DRAGON SPACE
New 'smart' material could help tap medical potential of tissue-penetrating light

Orbital-Built Intelsat 18 Communications Satellite Completes In-Orbit Testing

Amazon sells Kindle Fire below cost: research firm

World's lightest material invented




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement