When did LOI happen?
The Genesis spacecraft went into perfect orbit
insertion about the first Lagrangian point, L1, the
morning of November 16, 2001. According to Mission
Design and Navigation Team Lead George Carlisle,
"Every mission begins with the design of a trajectory.
The resulting trajectory must meet the mission requirements,
primarily those defined by the scientific goals of the
mission. On Genesis, those goals are to collect charged
particles from the solar wind and return them to Earth.
The Genesis mission trajectory was chosen because it
takes the spacecraft and science instruments to a point
in space far enough removed from the geomagnetic field
of Earth to permit collection of solar wind samples
before they interact with that field. Because of the
ability to linger near the Lagrangian Point (L1) for
many months, it also allows sufficient time for the
solar wind particles to accummulate within the sample
The recent LOI (Lissajous Orbit Insertion) maneuver,
on November 16, set up the five halo loops that Genesis
will complete around L1 (lasting about 30 months), thus
beginning the science part of the mission. Though this
was a modest maneuver, it made the difference between
allowing us to stay near L1 and collect the valuable
science data represented by the solar wind particles
over the next two and a half years, and falling back
to Earth within a few months, empty handed.
It's true that other missions have monitored solar
wind in halo orbits, but we are the first mission to
collect samples of solar wind and return them to the
Earth for scientific analysis. This is what makes us
unique among other halo orbit missions. Our daytime
return to Earth in 2004 will truly be an exciting event."