Pictures of Spacecraft
On September 27, 2013, members of the media were given a final opportunity to view the MAVEN Mars orbiter before it was prepared for launch.
NASA and JPL initially referred to what became the Voyagers as the Mariner-Jupiter-Saturn 1977 Project. The two Voyagers were advanced versions of the Mariner-class spacecraft that JPL had flown successfully to Venus, Mars, and Mercury. Shown here is a 1975 JPL artist's rendering of Voyager after encountering Jupiter and, after a gravity assist, approaching Saturn.
Technicians test the deployment of one of the three massive solar arrays that will power Juno. When Juno arrives at Jupiter in 2016, it will be farther from the sun than any previous solar-powered mission. The choice of solar power for Juno necessitates very large solar arrays 2.65 meters wide by 8.9 meters long. Once in orbit, the three arrays will provide about 450 watts of electricity. The photo was taken on Sept. 13, 2010 at the Materials Test Laboratory at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver.
NASA's Juno spacecraft looms above the assembly floor as technicians prepare the Jupiter-bound probe for a round of testing that simulates the vibrations the spacecraft will experience during launch. Juno's dish-shaped high-gain antenna has been installed in preparation for the test, along with the spindly truss that supports adjacent low- and medium-gain antennas. A single solar array has also been installed for the test, and can be seen in stowed configuration on the far side of the spacecraft. The spacecraft is mounted on a large rotation fixture which allows it to be turned for convenient access for integration and testing of various subsystems. Here, technicians are in the process of rotating Juno into a vertical orientation as they prepare to lift the spacecraft onto a test stand. This image was taken on November 22, 2010, in the high-bay cleanroom at Lockheed Martin Space Systems in Denver.
Artist's impression of Voyager 1's position on the sky when observed by the Very Long Baseline Array (VLBA) on February 21, 2013, at which point Voyager had exited the heliosphere. The actual image from the data (enlarged section) is 0.5 arcseconds across. The radio signal as shown is a mere 1 milliarcsecond across. Credit:
The MAVEN spacecraft is shown in this time-lapse video during its Assembly, Test, and Launch Operations (ATLO) phase. MAVEN began ATLO procedures on Sept. 11, 2012 and was shipped to Kennedy Space Center's Payload Hazardous Servicing Facility on Aug. 2, 2013 to begin preparations for its scheduled launch on Nov. 18, 2013.
Soyuz TMA-08M, carrying the crew of Expedition 36, touches down on the Kazakh steppe on Sept. 11, 2013. The bright orange flash under the vehicle is caused by retro-rockets firing to slow the spacecraft's descent.
In March 2011 the Curiosity rover was housed in a space-simulation chamber to be put through its paces at simulated Martian temperatures and pressures. Curiosity is fully assembled with all primary flight hardware and instruments. The test chamber's door is still open. After the door is closed, a near-vacuum environment can be established, and the chamber walls flooded with liquid nitrogen for chilling to minus 130 degrees Celsius (minus 200 degrees Fahrenheit). A bank of powerful lamps simulates sunshine on Mars. The technician in the picture is using a wand to map the solar simulation intensities at different locations in the chamber just prior to the start of the testing.
LADEE to the Moon! As seen from the Top of the Rock, Rockefeller Center, about 200 miles north of the launch pad, the first Orbital Sciences Minotaur V rocket sends NASA's LADEE spacecraft on its way to the Moon! The Empire State Building was lit up green and blue in honor of the U.S. Open of Tennis, being played in Flushing, Queens, the week of the launch.
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