Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Mars Express mission controllers ready for NASA Phoenix landing

21.05.2008
ESA's Mars Express mission control team are ready to monitor Phoenix's critical entry, descent and landing onto the Martian surface on 26 May 2008.

The Mars Express mission control team have completed major preparations for supporting the entry, descent and landing (EDL) phase of NASA's Phoenix mission to the Red Planet. On 25 May, Mars Express will point towards Phoenix's planned entry trajectory and record signals broadcast from the lander as it plunges through the Martian atmosphere.

The recorded data will serve as a useful and potentially crucial back-up to compare Phoenix's planned and actual descent profiles. Landing is planned for 23:38 UTC, 25 May, which is 01:38 CEST, 26 May.

"We have tested a specially designed slew for our spacecraft, and scheduled a series of data downloads immediately after Phoenix's landing; NASA will receive our recorded data about one hour later," says Michel Denis, Spacecraft Operations Manager at ESOC, ESA's Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany.

The Mars Express team will monitor the event from the Dedicated Control Room at ESOC.

Effective reuse of on-board lander communications system

Mission controllers will use the MELACOM (Mars Express Lander Communications) system to point towards Phoenix during EDL; the radio instrument was originally intended for communications with the Beagle 2 lander.

Mars Express will perform a high-speed slew as MELACOM tracks Phoenix, rotating about one axis at a speed some two to three times faster than normal; this action has already been tested and confirmed. The orbit phasing of Mars Express was already adjusted at the end of 2007 to provide visibility to Phoenix.

Data recording is scheduled to begin at 23:21 UTC, and run for 26 minutes, until 23:47 UTC.

"Our MELACOM data will enable NASA to confirm the Phoenix lander's descent characteristics, including speed and acceleration through the Mars atmosphere," says Peter Schmitz, Deputy Spacecraft Operations Manager and project lead for Mars Express Phoenix support activities.

MELACOM data will be downloaded to Earth via NASA's Deep Space terminals DSS-15 and DSS-25. After a 15-minute, 20-second light-speed travel time, ESOC will receive the data transmitted from Mars Express, i.e. at 00:40 UTC ( 02:40 CEST). Recorded data will subsequently be downloaded two more times to ensure no loss of packets.

The ESA spacecraft will also fly over Phoenix's intended landing zone, beginning at 06:12 UTC (08:12 CEST) on 26 May and will again monitor signals transmitted up from the surface.

In the following week, Mars Express will monitor Phoenix using MELACOM 14 more times; at least one of these will be used to demonstrate and confirm that the ESA spacecraft can be used as a data relay station for NASA, receiving data from the surface and transmitting test commands to the lander.

This capability has already been trialed between Mars Express and NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers (MER), now operating on the surface.

In the days leading up to the Phoenix landing, NASA and ESA ground stations also cooperated to perform highly sophisticated 'delta-DOR' (delta - Differential One-way Range) interferometry measurements. This enabled a precise determination of whether Phoenix was on track to meet the planned entry point.

This is the first time that ESA has been requested to operationally support NASA with the delta-DOR equipment installed at the Agency's two deep-space tracking stations, in Cebreros, Spain, and New Norcia, Australia.

| alfa
Further information:
http://www.esa.int/SPECIALS/Operations/SEM8KD0YUFF_0.html

More articles from Information Technology:

nachricht Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers
20.07.2018 | Centre for Quantum Technologies at the National University of Singapore

nachricht Study suggests buried Internet infrastructure at risk as sea levels rise
18.07.2018 | University of Wisconsin-Madison

All articles from Information Technology >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>