Oct 19 2015

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Blue Angels would be proud

NASA’s MMS Spacecraft Achieve Tightest Flying Formation Ever. This is pretty cool. Flying four satellites in a formation only 6 miles across takes some serious orbital analysis and satellite commanding. Given that each satellite is 369ft by 94 ft width its booms and such extended, such tight formation flying is even more impressive.

When MMS first formed a tetrahedral shape in July 2015, the spacecraft were flying about 100 miles apart. Over the past few months, MMS gradually closed that spacing to just six miles. Another mission, ESA/NASA’s Cluster, had times in which two of its four spacecraft were that close, but MMS is the first mission to hold four spacecraft in such close proximity. To achieve this milestone, first the MMS spacecraft dropped down to 40 miles apart, then 15 and finally on Oct. 15 the spacing dropped to its closest point, just a little over six miles apart. After operating over that range, the MMS science team will then decide what spacing was optimal and return to that value.


Permanent link to this article: http://www.newspaceraces.com/2015/10/19/9040/

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