Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Rosetta correctly lined up for critical Mars swingby

16.02.2007
ESA mission controllers have confirmed Rosetta is on track for a critical 250-km Mars swingby on 25 February. Engineers have started final preparations for the delicate operation, which includes an eclipse, a signal blackout, precise navigation and complex ground tracking.

Rosetta is scheduled to make its closest approach to Mars at 02:57 CET on Sunday, 25 February, using the Red Planet as a gravitational brake to reduce speed and alter trajectory as part of the spacecraft's complex, 10-year, 7.1-thousand-million-kilometre journey to comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

"Last Friday's engine firing went well. On Tuesday, we confirmed the spacecraft is on nominal track for the swingby. There is currently no need for additional engine burns, so the next manoeuvre slot, planned for the weekend, has been cancelled," said Paolo Ferri, Rosetta Flight Director, speaking at ESOC, ESA's Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

Communications blackout, eclipse as Rosetta passes behind Mars

Later today, the Flight Control Team is scheduled to begin charging Rosetta's batteries for the planned 25-minute eclipse during the swingby. During the eclipse, Rosetta's solar panels will be shadowed from sunlight by Mars, and all but essential systems will be turned off or placed into low-power modes.

Rosetta's original trajectory and engineering design did not include an eclipse, but unavoidable launch delays forced the trajectory to be replanned. Mission controllers working on Rosetta have spent months carefully planning and testing a low-power configuration which will allow the spacecraft to safely operate on batteries.

Further, ground controllers expect to lose contact with Rosetta for a tense 15-minute occultation, or blackout, starting at 03:14 CET on 25 February, as Rosetta passes behind Mars with respect to ground stations on Earth.

At closest approach, Rosetta will skim by Mars in a spectacular passage, a mere 250 km above the Red Planet. At this time, ESA's Mars Express will be some 11 042 kms away from Rosetta, while NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter will be about 7172 kms distant.

ESA-NASA cooperation for deep-space tracking

The intensive swing-by activities at ESOC have included a comprehensive tracking campaign to carefully plot Rosetta's position and trajectory.

Ranging and Doppler measurements from DSA 1, ESA's deep-space tracking station at New Norcia, Australia, have been augmented by data from NASA's DSN deep-space network. Both networks are using Delta DOR (Delta Differential One-Way Ranging) technology to precisely locate and track the spacecraft.

Delta DOR uses two widely separated ground antennas to simultaneously track a spacecraft and measure the time difference between signals arriving at the two stations. ESA first used the sophisticated technique to track Venus Express in 2006.

Bernhard Von Weyhe | alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/rosetta
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Rosetta/SEMKRCO2UXE_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time
17.10.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging
17.10.2017 | American Association for the Advancement of Science

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

Ocean atmosphere rife with microbes

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

Neutrons observe vitamin B6-dependent enzyme activity useful for drug development

17.10.2017 | Life Sciences

NASA finds newly formed tropical storm lan over open waters

17.10.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>