Notes: The following is a transcript of ship-to-ground transmissions from Mars Explorer ship Quiris to the ESA Ground Control Network starting from the first transmission after the Crew Module Main Engine exploded mid-burn at approximately 10:50:28, twenty-two seconds after the crew intiated the burn. Due to a malfunction in the onboard computer, the data-packets containing these transmissions were incorrectly tagged as routine maintenance test messages and were thus not relayed back to Earth but were only discovered when retrieved directly out of the memory from the Circ-Jovian Sattelite Subnetwork.
Additional: Several of Mark Leerum’s remarks have been edited out of this document and all publically available copies at the request of his family. The complete transcript is available at the ESA headquarters at Darmstadt, and can be retrieved by any member of the public either in person, by post or e-mail by contacting the ESA press office. See the ESA’s website for more details.
11:02:17 – Darmstadt, do you read?
11:02:26 – *unintelligible*
11:02:34 – Darmstadt, do you read?
11:02:55 – Darmstadt, do you read?
11:02:59 – *unintelligible, suspected data spike in comm-relay buoy #2235*
11:03:30 – Darmstadt, do you read?
11:04:16 – This is Quiris transmitting in the blind to any ground control station in the ESA.
11:05:00 – *standard NOSIGRAY [No Signal to Relay] signal from CJOVSATSBNT [Circ-Jovian Sattelite Subnetwork of ISRCN]*
11:05:30 – Quiris Mars Explorer to any GCS [note: Ground Control Station], transmitting blind. I have switched over to Omni Alpha and dual HGF[note: High Gain Frequency]-bands. Please reply.
11:06:12 – *unintelligible, suspected data spike in comm-relay buoy #2235*
11:08:47 – Okay, my status is I have three dead fuel cells, and almost zero on *garbled* I’ve lost most of my RCS [note: Reaction Control System] fuel and *garbled* is still holding at that level, I have negative contact with all ISCRN [note: International Sattelite Communication Relay Network] sattelites and I’m experiencing a constant computer error loop, unknown cause. The rest of the crew are all dead. Please respond.
11:10:00 – *standard NOSIGRAY signal from CJOVSATSBNT*
11:10:30 – To anyone listening, I need assistance. Still have minimum maneouvrability and low on power. Attempting DLM [note: Direct Laser Messaging System] but the computer isn’t keeping up. I have recieved *garbled* minutes, list follows: #2218-S, #2218-L, #2220, #2221-A, #2221-B, 22 *garbled*, #3981-M, #3982-A and a general RAM error alert.
11:14:03 – Attempting a computer restart, if you are reading this the default recieve frequency is 221.67 mHz on HGF. Quiris signing off.
11:15:00 – *standard NOSIGRAY signal from CJOVSATSBNT*
11:20:00 – *standard NOSIGRAY signal from CJOVSATSBNT*
11:25:00 – *standard NOSIGRAY signal from CJOVSATSBNT*
11:28:33 – *standard Mars Explorer Comm System Bootup Test Signal recieved by comm-relay buoy #2278 on 221.67 mHz HGF, recorded by ISCRN data logging system*
11:30:00 – *standard NOSIGRAY signal from CJOVSATSBNT*
11:35:00 – *standard NOSIGRAY signal from CJOVSATSBNT*
11:37:29 – Darmstadt, do you read?
11:37:48 – Darmstadt, do you read?
11:39:49 – Okay, Darmstadt, I’ve completed the reboot and I’m getting a few less error messages now. Still no go on the comm system and my platform is still busted, got zero from NAVYS [Navigation System] I have no idea where I am. Jupiter seems to getting bigger all the time though, I think the explosion must have knocked us off-course, I wish I had some way of checking my trajectory. I’d estimate maybe we’re a bit steeper than we should be. [note: Unknown to Leerum the mid-burn explosion did not result in an instant engine shutdown; The Crew Service Engine Section separated via explosive bolts as planned but without shutting down the engine first. The engine section continued to burn, pushing the crew section in front of it essentially as if they were still connected, but disconnected from crew section’s guidance computer. The burn continued for an additional thirty-eight seconds but without any working frame of reference. By the time Leerum sent this message, the Quiris was almost twenty thousand kilometres off-course and in a retrograde Jovian orbit]
11:40:00 – *standard NOSIGRAY signal from CJOVSATSBNT*
11:44:21 – I will continue working on getting the computer to align the DLM-system. I’ll report back in a few minutes and continue to check in over time. Quiris out.
11:45:00 – *standard NOSIGRAY signal from CJOVSATSBNT*