2016, astronauts, communications, Earth, Earth Space Exploration Program, engineering, ESEP, ESS Carl Sagan, ESS Queen Elizabeth II, gravity, Mars, Mars Mission 2016, Mars time, Noctis Labyrinthus, Noctis Standard Time, NST, space, space travel, spacecraft, spacecraft design, Zeke Jackson
- Mars Date/Time: Year 001, Sur Two, Sunday, Sol 18 (001.2.18) 03:59 NST
- Earth Date/Time: Tuesday, 22 March 2016 2:00 PM PDT
- Distance traveled: 91,023,624 kilometers Time Delay: 3 mins 42 secs
- Distance to Mars Rendezvous: 301,386,128 kilometers
Jenna was up early. She wanted to record her statement for the 7:00 AM Nippon Standard Time press conference, and then focus on the morning briefing. The ship was hit by three meteoroid fragments and passed through the Comm section. The damage was so extensive that the Comm section was considered a total loss.
Fortunately, the benefit of having Zeke Jackson on board came through again when he was able to help the engineering team take a Quill section and refit it with the communications equipment in storage and antennas from the original core section. The team accomplished a week’s worth of work in twenty-four hours, and was able to reestablish full communications with Earth. Redundant systems would also be reestablished, but with Charlie One on the way, the rebuilt Comm section would only be needed for a few days.
Jenna showered and dressed. She then made some tea and sat down at her workstation. She began recording,
“Good morning. As Megan has explained, I am recording this statement for the 7:00 AM news conference. I will have several of our staff available at that time to answer questions; however, we will end the press conference at 8:15 to allow our crew to resume their duties. Megan will give you a list of people who will be available and you may submit your text questions at any time during the conference. We will do our best to answer your questions. Because of the time delay, there will be no follow-up questions.
As you are now aware, the Communications section of the ESS Sagan took a direct hit of three golf ball sized meteoroid fragments that passed completely through that section. We believe that one of those fragments or debris from the impact damaged a Quill section in the First Hab section. That section also had a hull breach; however, we were able to repair that from inside the ship, with further work done on the outside after it was repressurized.
The core Comm section damaged or destroyed all of our data, voice, and visual transmission equipment, as well as the main and redundant power conduit through the section. We were able to receive data and voice from Earth on a redundant system, once we had power routed to it. We knew that Earthside ESEP was aware we were intact.
Our engineering team had to pull out the Comm section and replaced it with a smaller Quill section. The antennas from the original section were transferred, and Comm equipment meant for Mars was used to reestablish full communications. We did have the option of trying to establish a data transmission unit first, which would have allowed us to contact Earth one or two hours earlier, but it would have delayed the establishment of full communications for an additional six to eight hours.
We still lack some redundant systems, but now that Charlie One is in route, we have decided to forego additional work and simply integrate the new Comm section into the Sagan.
No one was injured as that section is usually uninhabited and as most of the crew were still in their quarters. We did experience a pressure loss in multiple areas. The Comm core section took over seven hours to patch and reseal the section; however, it is now attached to the Command section of the Queen Elizabeth II and the hatches are closed in case one of the patches fails.
We also increased velocity by a few kilometers per hour in order to move out of the debris field that resulted from the meteoroid strike.
The ship is back to normal operations, and we are looking forward to bringing the crew of Charlie One aboard in a few days.
We will now answer questions.”