Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Rosetta correctly lined up for critical Mars swingby

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:

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Move over, lasers: Scientists can now create holograms from neutrons, too
21.10.2016 | National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

nachricht Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus
20.10.2016 | The Henryk Niewodniczanski Institute of Nuclear Physics Polish Academy of Sciences

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: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>