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 Significantly more productivity in USP lasers
06.12.2016 | Fraunhofer-Institut für Lasertechnik ILT

nachricht Shape matters when light meets atom
05.12.2016 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

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: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Predicting unpredictability: Information theory offers new way to read ice cores

07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

Sea ice hit record lows in November

07.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

New material could lead to erasable and rewriteable optical chips

07.12.2016 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>