Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Gettin' Awfully Crowded Up There....
Well, we finally got the Weather Radar operational. We still have to calibrate it, but at least now it works as intended with no unusual burps, hiccups, or farts. We're going to write it off to corroded connections, and not being active for over 18 months. The brushes on the drive motors weren't seating correctly after sitting in one position for so long, and most of the oil had drained off all the moving parts, making it hard to turn for portions of the azimuth. It's splash-lubricated, and we did "prop it" a few dozen rotations by hand, but it really needs to be operated to keep the cobwebs out.
Since I'm one of the guys in the Range Group, I get all kinds of COLA (COLlision Avoidance) notices from NASA, and "other" organizations. They pointed me to this article on the Spaceflight Now website about all the junk accumulating Up There.
It looks grim, and unless some entrepreneur can figure out a way to clean things up (Salvage 1, anybody?), we're facing a real possibility of a cascade failure, with collisions begetting more junk, begetting more collisions, etc, etc, until orbital space is unusable.
What a mess!