Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ESA tracking support essential to Chinese mission

29.10.2007
The ESA ground station network is being mobilised to provide direct support to China's Chang'E-1 Moon mission. Three ESTRACK stations will be used to track Chang'E-1 on the flight to the Moon and during the critical Moon orbit insertion.

The mission was launched on 24 October 2007 at 10:05 UTC (12:05 CEST) from Launch Pad 3 at the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in south-west China's Sichuan Province.

Engineers at ESOC, the European Space Operations Centre, in Darmstadt, Germany, will be 'on the loop' - in voice communication - with Chinese mission controllers at BACC, the Beijing Aerospace Command and Control Centre, starting on 1 November.

ESA's 15m European Space Tracking (ESTRACK) network stations at Maspalomas (Spain) and Kourou (French Guiana) will be used at the start of ESA's tracking campaign.

These will be joined later by ESTRACK's DS1 - the giant 35m deep-space station at New Norcia, Australia.

The three will rotate tracking duties during Chang'E-1's cruise to the Moon, and will be in contact during the critical orbit insertion manoeuvres, scheduled for 5, 6 and 7 November.

ESTRACK essential for success

At certain points, Chang'E-1 will not be visible from China's own tracking stations, making ESTRACK support essential for mission success.

"There has been a lot of preparation on the ESTRACK side, but we're ready to go," said John Reynolds, Operations Manager for ESTRACK in support to Chang'E-1.

ESA previously provided ESTRACK services to China for the Double Star mission, which conducted joint studies - together with ESA's Cluster - of the Sun's effects on the Earth's environment.

ESA stations are remotely controlled from the ESTRACK Control Centre (ECC) located at ESOC, and are normally unmanned for routine operations. For Chang'E-1, engineers will be on duty at the three stations involved to provide quick response in the event of any technical problems.

Scientists, engineers and ground control experts from ESOC have spent months working to ensure that Chang'E-1 support goes off without a glitch. Preparations included a series of joint meetings in Beijing and Darmstadt, use of ESOC's reference station for testing, and upgrading station software. ESTRACK controllers have also participated in simulations with their Chinese counterparts.

"ESA's expertise in tracking Chang'E-1 sets the stage for future cooperation with China. The Agency's ESTRACK network is a resource that benefits not only the Agency but also all space science through such international cooperation," said Erik Soerensen, Head of the System Requirements and Validation Section at ESOC.

Extending cooperation and sharing benefits

In return for ESA's tracking services, China will share scientific data generated by the mission and the two agencies will also establish a visitors' programme so that researchers can learn from each other (see New mission to the Moon lifts off).

During ESA's SMART-1 mission, which ended in September 2006, the agency provided China with details of the spacecraft's position and transmission frequencies so that the Chinese could test their tracking stations and ground operation procedures by following it - a part of their preparation for Chang'E-1.

First step in China's Lunar Exploration Program

Chang'E-1 represents the first step in China's plans to land robotic explorers on the Moon before 2020. The spacecraft is large, weighing in at 2350 kg, and it will operate from a low, circular lunar orbit, just 200 km above the surface of the Moon. From here, it will perform its science mission for a full year.

Named after the Chinese goddess of the Moon, Chang'E-1 is the first phase in the China Lunar Exploration Program (CLEP).

This programme is expected to last until around 2020 and the next phase will include a lander and associated rover. Looking farther into the future, plans are being drawn up for a sample return mission to bring lunar rocks to Earth for analysis.

ESA Corporate Communication Offi | idw
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Operations/SEMB0DJJX7F_0.html

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht APEX takes a glimpse into the heart of darkness
25.05.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Radioastronomie

nachricht First chip-scale broadband optical system that can sense molecules in the mid-IR
24.05.2018 | Columbia University School of Engineering and Applied 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: Powerful IT security for the car of the future – research alliance develops new approaches

The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.

Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...

Im Focus: Molecular switch will facilitate the development of pioneering electro-optical devices

A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.

The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...

Im Focus: LZH showcases laser material processing of tomorrow at the LASYS 2018

At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.

At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...

Im Focus: Self-illuminating pixels for a new display generation

There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?

At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...

Im Focus: Explanation for puzzling quantum oscillations has been found

So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics

Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Save the date: Forum European Neuroscience – 07-11 July 2018 in Berlin, Germany

02.05.2018 | Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Climate adapted plants

25.05.2018 | Event News

Flow probes from the 3D printer

25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering

Less is more? Gene switch for healthy aging found

25.05.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>