Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

GOCE completes early orbit phase

24.03.2009
ESA's GOCE satellite was formally declared ready for work at 01:00 CET on 20 March. During the critical Launch and Early Orbit Phase beginning with separation from its booster on 17 March, GOCE was checked out to confirm that all of its control systems are operating normally.
The end of the Launch and Early Orbit Phase (LEOP) came overnight after GOCE was switched to Fine Pointing Mode. This means that all of its systems are working normally and the satellite is ready for full commissioning of its scientific instruments. With the end of LEOP, normal communications between the satellite and the ground are now being provided by ESA's ESTRACK station at Kiruna, Sweden.

"Everything is working well and we have a healthy satellite. Today, we will end round-the-clock staffing in the Main Control Room and move the Flight Control Team to regular work-day operations in the Dedicated Control Room," said Flight Operations Director Pier Paolo Emanuelli speaking this morning at ESA's European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), Darmstadt, Germany.

A major aim of this week's LEOP work was to bring the Satellite-to-Satellite Tracking Instrument (SSTI) - a highly accurate GPS (Global Positioning Satellite) receiver - into full operation. Emanuelli confirmed that it is working normally.
"Switching on the SSTI was especially important, as this meant the satellite could start performing its own autonomous orbit determinations. SSTI identifies GOCE's position very accurately, and we need this functioning before we can bring the satellite into its final drag-free operations mode," he said.

First science data sets already received

In addition to providing realtime navigation data for flight control, SSTI is one of GOCE's two payload instruments and it is a very accurate scientific tool for recording and reconstructing the satellite's actual orbit. The first SSTI data have already been received at the Payload Data Ground Segment at ESA's Earth Observation Centre (ESRIN), Frascati, Italy.

"Receiving initial science data from SSTI so soon has been an excellent first step and, now that the SSTI is operating, we are already proceeding with commissioning of the scientific payload," said GOCE Mission Manager Rune Floberghagen, who worked in ESOC's Main Control Room alongside the Mission Control Team during LEOP to monitor progress.

"GOCE is operating very well, and we are already looking forward to commissioning our other main instrument, the Electrostatic Gravity Gradiometer, starting in mid-April. It's going to be a very busy but tremendously exciting time as we begin science operations," said Floberghagen.

In the coming weeks, the mission is expected to achieve a number of crucial milestones, including switching on the electric ion propulsion, switching into Drag-Free Attitude Control mode and lowering the orbit to the planned altitude of about 260 km.

Jocelyne Landeau-Constantin | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Operations/SEMZ8TJTYRF_0.html
http://www.esa.int

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht New NASA study improves search for habitable worlds
20.10.2017 | NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center

nachricht Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods
19.10.2017 | California Institute of Technology

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

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

Terahertz spectroscopy goes nano

20.10.2017 | Information Technology

Strange but true: Turning a material upside down can sometimes make it softer

20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

NRL clarifies valley polarization for electronic and optoelectronic technologies

20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>