Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mars Express mission controllers ready for NASA Phoenix landing

21.05.2008
ESA's Mars Express mission control team are ready to monitor Phoenix's critical entry, descent and landing onto the Martian surface on 26 May 2008.

The Mars Express mission control team have completed major preparations for supporting the entry, descent and landing (EDL) phase of NASA's Phoenix mission to the Red Planet. On 25 May, Mars Express will point towards Phoenix's planned entry trajectory and record signals broadcast from the lander as it plunges through the Martian atmosphere.

The recorded data will serve as a useful and potentially crucial back-up to compare Phoenix's planned and actual descent profiles. Landing is planned for 23:38 UTC, 25 May, which is 01:38 CEST, 26 May.

"We have tested a specially designed slew for our spacecraft, and scheduled a series of data downloads immediately after Phoenix's landing; NASA will receive our recorded data about one hour later," says Michel Denis, Spacecraft Operations Manager at ESOC, ESA's Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany.

The Mars Express team will monitor the event from the Dedicated Control Room at ESOC.

Effective reuse of on-board lander communications system

Mission controllers will use the MELACOM (Mars Express Lander Communications) system to point towards Phoenix during EDL; the radio instrument was originally intended for communications with the Beagle 2 lander.

Mars Express will perform a high-speed slew as MELACOM tracks Phoenix, rotating about one axis at a speed some two to three times faster than normal; this action has already been tested and confirmed. The orbit phasing of Mars Express was already adjusted at the end of 2007 to provide visibility to Phoenix.

Data recording is scheduled to begin at 23:21 UTC, and run for 26 minutes, until 23:47 UTC.

"Our MELACOM data will enable NASA to confirm the Phoenix lander's descent characteristics, including speed and acceleration through the Mars atmosphere," says Peter Schmitz, Deputy Spacecraft Operations Manager and project lead for Mars Express Phoenix support activities.

MELACOM data will be downloaded to Earth via NASA's Deep Space terminals DSS-15 and DSS-25. After a 15-minute, 20-second light-speed travel time, ESOC will receive the data transmitted from Mars Express, i.e. at 00:40 UTC ( 02:40 CEST). Recorded data will subsequently be downloaded two more times to ensure no loss of packets.

The ESA spacecraft will also fly over Phoenix's intended landing zone, beginning at 06:12 UTC (08:12 CEST) on 26 May and will again monitor signals transmitted up from the surface.

In the following week, Mars Express will monitor Phoenix using MELACOM 14 more times; at least one of these will be used to demonstrate and confirm that the ESA spacecraft can be used as a data relay station for NASA, receiving data from the surface and transmitting test commands to the lander.

This capability has already been trialed between Mars Express and NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers (MER), now operating on the surface.

In the days leading up to the Phoenix landing, NASA and ESA ground stations also cooperated to perform highly sophisticated 'delta-DOR' (delta - Differential One-way Range) interferometry measurements. This enabled a precise determination of whether Phoenix was on track to meet the planned entry point.

This is the first time that ESA has been requested to operationally support NASA with the delta-DOR equipment installed at the Agency's two deep-space tracking stations, in Cebreros, Spain, and New Norcia, Australia.

| alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Operations/SEM8KD0YUFF_0.html

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht New software speeds origami structure designs
12.10.2017 | Georgia Institute of Technology

nachricht Seeing the next dimension of computer chips
11.10.2017 | Osaka University

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event

On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.

Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).

When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.

How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.

It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Osaka university researchers make the slipperiest surfaces adhesive

18.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Space radiation won't stop NASA's human exploration

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Los Alamos researchers and supercomputers help interpret the latest LIGO findings

18.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>