World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Planetary Observer program

Article Id: WHEBN0000724050
Reproduction Date:

Title: Planetary Observer program  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Space Shuttle program, Small Explorer program, New Frontiers program, Sojourner (rover), Pioneer program
Collection: Missions to Mars, Missions to the Moon, NASA Programs, NASA Space Probes
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Planetary Observer program

The Planetary Observer program is a cancelled space exploration program designed by NASA to provide cheaper planetary orbiters by using Earth-orbiting satellite components and technology, using solar panels for power, and a common spacecraft bus platform for all Planetary Observer-class probes. Only one spacecraft of this class was eventually constructed—the Mars Observer.[1][2]

Contents

  • History 1
    • Mars Observer 1.1
    • Lunar Observer 1.2
  • References 2

History

After the flagship multi-billion dollar missions of the 1970s, in the 1980s NASA was looking for a new, more affordable direction for the 1990s and beyond. Two projects were conceived by NASA's Solar System Exploration Committee in 1983, the Planetary Observer program and Mariner Mark II. The Observer program, starting with Mars Observer, was envisioned as a series of low-cost missions to the inner Solar System, based on commercial Earth satellites. The Mariner Mark II, on the other hand, was to be a series of large spacecraft for the exploration of the outer Solar System.[3]

The first Planetary Observer spacecraft to be approved was Mars Observer, in 1985.[4] Lunar Observer (LO), proposed for a 1997 launch,[5] would have been sent into a long-term lunar orbit at 60 miles above the Moon's poles. The Mercury Observer (MO) was also proposed for a 1997 launch. However, Congressionally imposed reductions to FY 1992-93 funding requirements forced NASA to terminate the Planetary Observer program, with just Mars Observer funded.

Mars Observer

Mars Observer was an unmanned spacecraft designed to study the geoscience and climate of Mars. The first of the proposed Observer series of planetary missions, it was launched by NASA on September 25, 1992. Three days before Mars Observer was scheduled to enter the orbit of Mars, contact with the spacecraft was lost. Attempts to re-establish communication with the spacecraft were unsuccessful.

Lunar Observer

The Lunar Observer program was started with an estimated budget of US$500–700 million. The proposed orbit was 70 km (43 mi) above the surface. The Lunar Observer spacecraft garnered some attention from the Soviet Union, and there was a suggestion that they might cooperate with NASA to field some instruments for it.[6]

Lunar Observer was proposed for FY1991 at US$188 million by President George H.W. Bush.[7]

References

  1. ^ "NASA Picks Basic Spaceship Over Awesome Alternative". The Deseret News. Associated Press. November 6, 1992. 
  2. ^ Peter J. Westwick. Into the Black, Yale University Press, 2007, pp.175
  3. ^ Wilford, John Noble (March 7, 1989). "NASA Turns From Custom Design to Standard Models". The New York Times. 
  4. ^ Eberhart, Jonathan (October 19, 1985). "New starts and tough choices at NASA". Science News 128. 
  5. ^ Broad, William J. (July 17, 1989). "New Phase on the Moon: U.S. Weighs a Return". The New York Times. 
  6. ^ Hills, Bruce (February 25, 1990). "2 Satellites to Orbit Moon in '96, U. physicist says". The Deseret News. p. A1. 
  7. ^ Rosenthal, Harry F. (May 12, 1990). "Mars Expedition Tab May Be Astronomical". The Deseret News. Associated Press. 
This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.