Rosetta Ground Segment and Mission Operations

Authors: Warhaut, M.; Ferri, P.; Montagnon, E.

Source: Space Science Reviews, Volume 128, Numbers 1-4, February 2007 , pp. 189-204(16)

Publisher: Springer

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Abstract:

At the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt (Germany) the activities for ground segment development and mission operations preparation for Rosetta started in 1997. Many of the characteristics of this mission were new to ESOC and have therefore required an early effort in identifying all the necessary facilities and functions. The ground segment required entirely new elements to be developed, such as the large deep-space antenna built in New Norcia (Western Australia). The long duration of the journey to the comet, of about 10 years, required an effort in the operations concept definition to reduce the cost of routine monitoring and control. The new approaches adopted for the Rosetta mission include full transfer of on-board software maintenance responsibility to the operations team, and the installation of a fully functioning spacecraft engineering model at ESOC, in support of testing and troubleshooting activities in flight, but also for training of the operations staff. Special measures have also been taken to minimise the ground contact with the spacecraft during cruise, to reduce cost, down to a typical frequency of one contact per week. The problem of maintaining knowledge and expertise in the long flight to comet Churyumov–Gerasimenko is also a major challenge for the Rosetta operations team, which has been tackled early in the mission preparation phase and evolved with the first years of flight experience.

Keywords: Rosetta; ground segment; interplanetary exploration; space missions operation

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11214-006-9123-9

Affiliations: Email: Manfred.Warhaut@esa.int

Publication date: February 1, 2007

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