AV-017, Bubbling UFOs, and Centrifugal Settling

I’ve been so busy lately that I’m only now getting a few spare minutes to show off some rather cool pictures I was sent a week ago.  A week ago Monday, I got an email from Claire Flanagan of the Johannesburg Planetarium in South Africa, asking about some strange pictures, including the one taken above by Mitchell Krog of Livingcanvas.co.za (check out some of his nature photographs–they’re breathtaking!). She had reason to believe that these bubbles had something to do with last week’s Atlas-V DMSP launch.

This was the launch I mentioned in my propellant depot paper, where after delivering the spacecraft they did a series of cryo-fluid management tests, including several tests on centrifugal propellant settling. BTW, I hear they got some good data from the tests, but I’ll let the ULA guys speak for themselves once the data is fully analyzed.

Anyhow, after helping the Johannesburg Planetarium gals/guys get in contact with ULA, they were (with Case Rijsdijk’s help) able to resolve the mystery. But I’ll let you read what Case and the Planetarium had to say about it, instead of just repeating it.

Kudos to Mitchell and Claire for letting me post some of the pictures and links.

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Jonathan Goff

Jonathan Goff

President/CEO at Altius Space Machines
Jonathan Goff is a space technologist, inventor, and serial space entrepreneur who created the Selenian Boondocks blog. Jon was a co-founder of Masten Space Systems, and is the founder and CEO of Altius Space Machines, a space robotics startup in Broomfield, CO. His family includes his wife, Tiffany, and five boys: Jarom (deceased), Jonathan, James, Peter, and Andrew. Jon has a BS in Manufacturing Engineering (1999) and an MS in Mechanical Engineering (2007) from Brigham Young University, and served an LDS proselytizing mission in Olongapo, Philippines from 2000-2002.
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2 Responses to AV-017, Bubbling UFOs, and Centrifugal Settling

  1. Pingback: Bubbling Spacecraft UFO in the South African skies | African Photography Blog

  2. Habitat Hermit says:

    So the picture above should be from the centrifugal test and the other pictures should be from the pulsed chilldown? Anyone else hazard a guess? Pretty awesome for ULA & the Atlas team to get this kind of visual feedback (Mitchell Krog should get more than a few orders for prints from them I guess ^_^).

    Does the blue color betray what they vented? All GOX I suppose?

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