Vega Gmbh

Darmstadt, Germany

Vega Gmbh

Darmstadt, Germany

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Accomazzo A.,European Space Agency | Ferri P.,European Space Agency | Lodiot S.,European Space Agency | Hubault A.,Vega Gmbh | And 2 more authors.
Acta Astronautica | Year: 2010

The International Rosetta Mission, a cornerstone mission of the European Space Agency Scientific Programme, was launched on 2 March 2004 on its 10 years journey towards a rendezvous with comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Once reached the comet nucleus in summer 2014, Rosetta will orbit it for about 1.5 years down to distances of a few kilometres and deliver a lander onto its surface. In the long cruise to its target, Rosetta performs four gravity assist manoeuvres, three times with Earth and once with Mars. During this flight Rosetta will cross twice the main asteroid belt, and in both occasions its trajectory is designed and controlled to flyby an asteroid at close distance. On 5 September 2008 the first of the two asteroid flybys has been conducted, with the spacecraft approaching asteroid 2867-Šteins at a minimum distance of about 800 km, and a relative velocity of 8.6 km/s. Šteins is an E-type asteroid with a diameter of about 5 km. This paper continues the period reporting of the operational experience from the Rosetta mission operations. Preparation and execution of the flyby activities are described including the first experience in optical navigation that will prove of utmost importance for the next asteroid flyby and for the comet approach phase. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Ferri P.,European Space Agency | Accomazzo A.,European Space Agency | Lodiot S.,European Space Agency | Hubault A.,Vega Gmbh | And 2 more authors.
Acta Astronautica | Year: 2010

The International Rosetta Mission, cornerstone of the European Space Agency Scientific Programme, was launched on 2 March 2004 on its 10 years journey towards a rendezvous with comet ChuryumovGerasimenko. Rosetta will reach the comet nucleus in summer 2014, orbit it for about 1.5 years down to distances of a few kilometres and deliver the lander Philae onto its surface. After its successful Asteroid fly-by in September 2008, Rosetta is coming back to Earth, for the last gravity acceleration towards its longest heliocentric orbit, up to a distance of 5.3 AU, never reached before by a solar generator-powered spacecraft. This revolution around the Sun will last several years, during which the spacecraft will have to be spun-up and put into hibernation mode, with most of the systems deactivated, to minimise power consumption. This paper presents the preparation and implementation of the deep space phase of the Rosetta mission. Differences between operations performed until now, at moderate distances to Earth and Sun, and the upcoming ones, involving distances up to 800 million km from the Sun and almost 1 billion km from Earth, are analysed and their impact on the operational concept described. The ground tools required in support of the operations are presented. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

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