22. August 2004 · Comments Off on An Exciting Reentry · Categories: General

This seems to have gotten very little mention in the popular press. But, to me, this is about the most exciting planned event in the space program since the early shuttle launches:

In a dramatic ending that marks a beginning in scientific research, NASA’s Genesis spacecraft is set to swing by Earth and jettison a sample return capsule filled with particles of the Sun that may ultimately tell us more about the genesis of our solar system.

“The Genesis mission — to capture a piece of the Sun and return it to Earth — is truly in the NASA spirit: a bold, inspiring mission that makes a fundamental contribution to scientific knowledge,” said Steven Brody, NASA’s program executive for the Genesis mission, NASA Headquarters, Washington.

On September 8, 2004, the drama will unfold over the skies of central Utah when the spacecraft’s sample return capsule will be snagged in midair by helicopter. The rendezvous will occur at the Air Force’s Utah Test and Training Range, southwest of Salt Lake City.

(emphasis mine)
The logic of this technique is so compelling, it’s a wonder it hasn’t been attempted before.

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