MOFFETT FIELD, Calif. – A biology experiment carried by NASA's GeneSat-1 Earth-orbiting satellite is generating "excellent data," according to scientists.
The 10-pound GeneSat-1, carrying bacteria inside a miniature laboratory, has been orbiting Earth since its launch on Dec. 16, 2006.
"We continue to receive excellent data from the GeneSat-1 spacecraft," John Hines, GeneSat-1 project manager at NASA Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, Calif., reported early on Dec. 21, 2006. "The biology experiment has passed its halfway point, and continues to perform flawlessly," Hines added.
"During this mission, we are exposing bacteria to the space environment to see how they are affected," Hines explained earlier. GeneSat-1's onboard micro-laboratory includes sensors and optical systems that can detect proteins that are the products of specific genetic activity.
"We expect to complete the biology experiment no later than Friday morning, Dec. 22, 2006, and then stand down the mission operations ground station team to a very minimal state, to allow for a well-deserved rest period and the Christmas holiday," Hines said.
According to scientists, GeneSat-1 will continue to operate, and store all data in resident memory for later download, as well as transmit data packets over the amateur band beacon channel.
"We will continue acquisition of these data packets (with more than) 6,000 received from 22 countries so far during this period," Hines said.
"As always, (the) latest snapshot data is available from the CREST/Santa Clara University-maintained mission dashboard (on the Internet)," Hines added. The data may be found at:
"The ground-control biology experiment will continue (at NASA Ames) in a 30-hour, delayed synchronous mode," Hines said. "After the completion of this phase, we will be able to compare the results of the flight and ground control biology experiments."
The Small Spacecraft Office at NASA Ames teamed up with industry and local universities to develop the fully automated, miniature GeneSat spaceflight system that provides life support for small living things.
GeneSat-1 was designed and built at NASA Ames, and the mission is being managed from Ames. The satellite was launched Dec. 16, 2006, from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility, Wallops Island, Va. GeneSat-1 was a secondary payload on an Air Force four-stage Minotaur 1 rocket that also delivered the Air Force TacSat 2 satellite to orbit.
Publication-size images are available at: