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 Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab
15.08.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Early opaque universe linked to galaxy scarcity
15.08.2018 | University of California - Riverside

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: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

Im Focus: The “TRiC” to folding actin

Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.

Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...

Im Focus: Lining up surprising behaviors of superconductor with one of the world's strongest magnets

Scientists have discovered that the electrical resistance of a copper-oxide compound depends on the magnetic field in a very unusual way -- a finding that could help direct the search for materials that can perfectly conduct electricity at room temperatur

What happens when really powerful magnets--capable of producing magnetic fields nearly two million times stronger than Earth's--are applied to materials that...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

2018 Work Research Conference

25.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Staying in Shape

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Diving robots find Antarctic seas exhale surprising amounts of carbon dioxide in winter

16.08.2018 | Earth Sciences

Protein droplets keep neurons at the ready and immune system in balance

16.08.2018 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>