Family Tree

Gromet In Space

The Big Day Has Been And Gone


Philae Comet Lander: November 2014

Little Philae bounced to a stop on the surface of an ancient wandering Comet and fell into a slumber.
So where does that leave this audacious European mission?

Philae's touchdown on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko was the first soft landing by a manmade object on a comet. I quickly borrowed Gromet and followed, Gromet was the second manmade object to land on a comet.

Like Philae I had quite a bumpy landing, I blame it all on a metal bird that was flying around in a quite haphazard way, in fact the bird was all the comet’s inhabitants seemed to be interested in.

The European Space Agency officials made clear before the attempt that nothing about landing on this irregular-shaped object was guaranteed in fact they thought that Philae had come to rest in the shadow of a cliff, but in reality a Clanger had given it an umbrella to protect it from the harsh rays emanating from our sun, how considerate.


  • After viewing the eclipse, in North Wales, during the summer of 1999
  • (see Holiday 99 for more information) we decided to take Gromet up into space and have a real adventure. Unfortunatley Nip was back at work and could not join us.
  • Two weeks later we drove down the A1 to RAF Wittering, just south of Stamford, to rendezvous with a Harrier Jump Jet.

Ready To Go.

Gromet crept onto the back of a Harrier Jump Jet, when the pilot wasn't looking. With the price of diesel the way it is we decided to use the Harrier to give us a piggy back into the lower stratosphere, for the first stage in our space adventures.

The attached line stopped Gromet drifting and brought power to his Hot Start keeping him nice and warm, ready for the morning.


We had to drop into low box to make our first port of call, the Hubble telescope. We dropped in for afternoon tea. Here you can see Smith Grunsfeld going aft to the shroud door to replace the RS4 after securing Gromet.

The attached line stopped Gromet drifting and brought power to his Hot Start keeping him nice and warm, ready for the morning.

 

Steve Smith prepared the generator for Gromet's Kenlow Hot Start. We were leaving early and did not want to freeze, also we could not afford a flat battery.

Of course time is relative in space and traffic jams nonexistent, but an early start was thought prudent, due to the large distance to the nearest planet.


Our very first planet, very different from home.

Despite the red glow in the sky it was extremely cold.

What is more, search as we might, we could not find a cafe anywhere, so it was the same old story no cappuccino and definitely no toasted tea cakes yet again!


This is the super, hyperspace highway. The distances were great and everyone had to take their turn driving.

We were a little apprehensive here as a dying star appeared on our starboard bow.


Sophie, Alfie And Jess Climbed Aboard Gromet And Went Into Hyper Space


On reaching one of Saturn moons we ran out of diesel! It was a long way to the nearest filling station and I had to wear a regulation space suit.

Funny thing, we always felt we were being watched here.


Gromet is seen here on Mars looking for the poor wee robot that NASA recently lost.

As can be seen, from the photo, we found it, Rosie is calling NASA with the good news - but they were engaged!


All good things come to an end.

Our return to earth was most dramatic, not something I would like to do again in a hurry.

It got very hot as we re-entered the atmosphere and we all hit the roof when the parachute deployed.


Our impact on terraferma was spectacular and jarring, we hit the edge of an erupting volcano, gave the resident vulcanologist quite a fright, but unbelievably the only damage was a little buckling on the roof rack and the oil seals in the shock absorbers, they had to be replace.

 

Would we do it again?
Probably not in our Series III, with out air conditioning, but it was a great experience and we all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
In fact we enjoyed it so much we went back to the volcanoe to re-take our marriage vows.

 



Top


Home