Rosetta image of asteroid 21 Lutetia 9 July - 2 mn km from target
CREDIT: (C) ESA 2010 MPS for OSIRIS Team MPS/UPD/LAM/IAA/RSSD/INTA/UPM/DASP/IDA
The OSIRIS imaging team have just sent in an image! Modest, yes, but the target's in sight! :-)
It shows asteroid 21 Lutetia from a distance of 2 million km, rapidly decreasing, and was acquired by the Narrow Angle Camera of the OSIRIS imaging system on board ESA's Rosetta spacecraft on 9 July 2010 at around 03:00 CEST. Rosetta is due to make closest approach at 18:10 CEST 10 July. This image was acquired as part of the optical navigation campaign, in which images acquired by the OSIRIS scientific imager and by Rosetta's on-board navigation cameras are being used to refine estimates of Lutetia's orbital trajectory.
Optical navigation campaign complete
The last optical navigation slot (Slot 19) was just completed a few minutes ago. With this data, ESA Flight Dynamics are now going to compute the final orbit for the flyby, and make a final decision on whether mission controllers should use the last Trajectory Correction Manouevre (TCM) slot, at 12hrs before closest approach on 10 July. -- Daniel
5.8 million kms and getting closer...
This was sent in by the Flight Dynamics team at ESA/ESOC a couple hours ago - it is an image acquired by Rosetta's Navigation Camera A (NAVCAM A) on 6 July at 05:45:02 CEST as part of the continuing navigation campaign. The picture shows Lutetia as a bright point of light in the middle of the image. The distance to Lutetia from Rosetta was roughly 5.8 million km. Thanks, Sabine! (Click image for larger size)
Rosetta thruster burn to align probe with asteroid target
The Rosetta team here at ESOC are preparing for a thruster burn tomorrow, 18 June, designed to manoeuvre the deep-space probe onto an altered trajectory that will take it to the desired fly-by point on 10 July (burn starts 08:24 CEST).
Now here's an interesting bit of space science: based on data gathered during this month's complex optical navigation campaign, the spacecraft is currently predicted to make closest approach at just 2639 km from Lutetia - quite a bit closer to the asteroid then the hoped-for 3160 km.
Closer would be better, don't you think? So why are the Rosetta team burning fuel to take the point of closest approach 526 km further away from the target?
It turns out that 2639 km would be too close - more details under 'Full story' -- Daniel
Exploded view of Rosetta showing internal and external components. There are 24 10N thrusters mounted externally.
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Tracking a pinpoint of light: Rosetta's first glimpse of asteroid Lutetia
A lovely little photo kicks off our Lutetia fly-by coverage! This first image of asteroid Lutetia was captured on 31 May 2010 by Rosetta's Navigation Camera A (there are two, 'NavCam A' and 'NavCam B') and was processed by the Flight Dynamics team here at ESOC, ESA's European Space Operations Centre, in Darmstadt, Germany.
(Click on 'Full story' for more details) -- Daniel
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Cool animation: (2867) Steins getting closer
Kielbassa, Rosetta Flight Dynamics specialist sent this in earlier. She and her
colleague, Michael Flegel, put together this animation for us last night (click on image at left for full animated GIF).
animation is composed of images taken once a day by NAVcam A between 25 August
and 3 September. These images were used for the optical navigation campaign, as
Rosetta followed Steins, refining its trajectory to close in on the asteroid.
images have been adjusted so that the stars are of roughly the same brightness from
day to day, although the exposure times decrease, and Steins becomes
brighter as Rosetta appoaches.
Optical Navigation , Operations
05 September, 2008 10:55
Rosetta team: highly accurate navigation
It's confirmed the TCM slot that was available 0500-0800 UT this morning was not needed for any final trajectory correction manoeuvre.
After yesterday's TCM (the thrusters ran for 103.5 sec), analysis of Rosetta's location and of the Steins images enabled ESOC Flight Dynamics to determine that Rosetta will pass within 2000m of the targeted 800 km this evening - which is within acceptability for the science observations to come.
It's rare that we in the operations business get to wave our own flag - spacecraft engineers are by nature extremely cautious and restrained folks. "The flight control team, the flight dynamics guys and the science operations team have all made Europe's first optical navigation campaign a huge success," says Flight Director Paolo Ferri.
(Click on 'Full story' for details - updated @ 21:58 CEST). -- Daniel
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03 September, 2008 09:45
More Nav Cam images
Rosetta's optical navigation campaign has been a first for ESA and is a tremendous success.
If you missed the article published last week in the main ESA web site, the basic info is this: Optical navigation for Rosetta has used the spacecraft's Navigation Cameras (Nav Cams - there are two, 'A' & 'B') and the OSIRIS camera to image Steins (OSIRIS has two science cameras - the Narrow Angle camera has been used for the navigation campaign). These photos are then downloaded and interpreted to generate very precise determinations of Stein's location, and these results are then used to generate the necessary thruster burns to correct the spacecraft's course as it approaches.
On Tuesday, Sabine Kielbassa, on the Flight Dynamics team here at ESOC, sent along two more images with some interesting details. The optical navigation campaign has really shown just how good ESA's Flight Dynamics team are, and she was quick to mention that it's a team effort - together with her colleagues Trevor Morely, Mathias Lauer, and Vicente Companys, all of whom are supported by the extended FD team.
(larger-size images and captions after the jump) -- Daniel
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