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Genesis capsule crash-lands in Utah
Updated: Wed, Sep 8, 2004, 4:59 PM ET (2059 GMT)
Originally Posted: Wed, Sep 8, 2004, 1:15 PM ET (1715 GMT)
Genesis capsule crash site (NASA) The sample return capsule from NASA's Genesis spacecraft crash-landed in the Utah desert Wednesday after its parachutes failed to deploy. The capsule, containing solar wind samples collected by the spacecraft during its mission, was designed to deploy a drogue parachute and later an parafoil, allowing it to glide slowly and be retrieved in midair by a helicopter. However, neither parachute appeared to deploy and the capsule hit the surface at the Utah Test and Training Range west of Salt Lake City at about 12:00 pm EDT (1600 GMT). Project officials said a press conference Wednesday afternoon that the capsule hit the ground at about 310 kmph, nearly twice the speed originally estimated. The capsule is partially buried in the ground and suffered extensive damage. None of the pyros designed to release the capsule's parachutes fired, officials said, raising suspicions that a battery problem first noted with the capsule in late 2001, shortly after launch, may have kept the parachutes from deploying. Workers plan to remove the capsule from the crash site later today and attempt to salvage the samples contained inside.
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