Tag Archives: flyby

Stuff That Weighs More Than Me: Cassini Spacecraft

As I was writing my post about “waving at Saturn” yesterday, I had a realization.  “Hey,” I thought, “I’ll bet that Cassini Spacecraft taking photos from Saturn weighs more than me.”

So I started investigating.  Despite the fact that it is expensive to launch stuff into space, Cassini is pretty big.  It is bristling with lots of scientific instruments designed to function like our human senses to detect stuff in space.  Ready?  Here’s the stats:

Stabilization: 3 axis-stabilized spacecraft utilizing both thrusters and reaction wheels to stay at the right angle and on course.

Launch Vehicle: Titan IV-B/Centaur

Satellite of: Saturn

Planets flown by: Venus, Moon, Earth, Masursky, Jupiter, Saturn’s moons

Weight (Mass): 2,523 kg (5,560 lb)

Conclusion: The Cassini Spacecraft weighs more than me.

Love,

The Fat Chick

P.S. The images are starting to come in from Friday’s photo shoot and they are stunning.  Here’s a sample to wet your whistle:

That little white arrow is pointing to the Earth.

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Stuff That Weighs More than Me: Mars-bound SpaceX Dragon Spacecraft

Dragon_capsule

Not only is super-rich civilian space traveler Dennis Tito planning a private mission to do a Mars flyby, the mission pilots are gonna do it in a commercial space vehicle that weighs more than me!

Dennis Tito recently hosted a press conference announcing the new privately funded space mission where a man and a woman (probably a married couple) will take a 501 day space mission leaving Earth, circling Mars and flying back home.  (Boy I hope those guys can get space counseling.  501 days with your husband in a little tiny space capsule?  YIKES! Get Deanna Troi on board, STAT!)  The commercial Dragon spacecraft created by SpaceX is relatively small, but it’s no space bike.  The capsule has to be large enough to contain the crew and enough supplies to last 501 days.  (Just how many bags of Doritos would that be I wonder? At the press conference Tito announced that the science geniuses have calculated that the couple will need another roll of toilet paper every 3 days.)

The amazing project is dependent on Tito’s ability to raise the cash.  But Tito seems optimistic.  At the press conference he said, “Let me be clear, I will come out a lot poorer as a result of this mission but my grandchildren will come out a lot richer for the inspiration it will give them.”  Nicely said Dennis.

And, here’s the stats:

Launch Vehicle: Falcon 9

Crew: 2

Cargo: Supplies to last 501 days (including 167 roles of toilet paper)

Height: 20 feet

Diameter: 12.1 feet

Dry Mass: 9.260 pounds (without payload)

Conclusion: The Mars-bound modified SpaceX Dragon Capsule will weigh more than me.

P.S. Special thanks to my space buddy Rod Pyle for giving me the heads up on his facebook wall.  :o)