FIRST CONTACT ESTABLISHED WITH SEAHAWK

This morning at 12:12 UTC, the clyde space ground station in glasgow, scotland was able to establish contact with seahawk.  as part of that contact, they downlinked the log file and commanded the onboard beacon to send out a signal – all with complete success. in analyzing the data, they reported that the separation/activation sequence that took place 45 minutes after seahawk was deployed from the lower free flyer performed perfectly with all antennas and both solar panels being deployed successfully.  the remaining two panels, one of which serves as the lens cover for the hawkeye instrument will remain closed until we believe that sufficient time has passed for the post-launch out-gassing to have completed and then they will be commanded to deploy.  in addition, the battery voltage is as expected and the logs show that the spacecraft has been “alive” for 15 hours.  

attached is a screenshot showing the location of the seahawk when this first contact was made as well as an actual recording of seahawk’s beacon that was captured by a radio amateur in the u.k. 

for those of you who may have missed the absolutely beautiful launch and spectacular landing, or if you would just like to relive the experience, you can watch a replay of yesterday’s events starting at about 4:50 into the video at:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wq8kS6UoOrQ&feature=youtu.be&t=289

while we were waiting and hoping for that first contact, i was reminded of the tension that the folks in nasa’s mission control center must have felt back in july of 1969 while waiting to hear if armstrong and aldrin had successfully landed on the moon.  

Neil Armstrong: Houston. Tranquility Base here. The Eagle has landed. 

CAPCOM: Roger Tranquility. We copy you on the ground. You got a bunch of guys about to turn blue. We’re breathing again. Thanks a lot.

while i am not saying that this morning’s event is anywhere close to the historical significance of landing on the moon, but for those us who were waiting for that signal, hearing it certainly allowed our hearts to beat and our lungs to breathe once again.

now on to the next step which involves a careful checkout of the spacecraft and activation of all the key systems that will be needed before we can start to do what seahawk was designed to do – to further our understanding of this incredible planet that we call home.

with my very best regards,

gene