Author Archives: Daniel

Daniel Scuka is Senior Editor for Spacecraft Operations at ESOC, ESA's European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany.
Trace Gas Orbiter at Mars Credit: ESA/ATG medialab

Aerobraking: So far, so good

The news from the ExoMars/TGO mission control team following the first ten days of the ‘walk-in’ to aerobraking is good! #hang10

ExoMars/TGO Deputy Spacecraft Operations Manager Silvia Sangiorgi seen in the Main Control Room at ESOC during launch in March 2016. Credit: ESA/J. Mai

TGO feels the burn

We already have had already two percienter passes at 150 km height; they gave us, respectively, 11 and 10 mm/sec of delta V. All is nominal and working fine for the moment.

Hang 10 over Mars

On 6 April, the craft will begin the critical, year-long ‘aerobraking’ phase, using the faint drag of the very upper reaches of the Martian atmosphere to slow the craft, lowering its orbit.

ESA's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) carries two Electra radios provided by NASA. This image shows a step in installation and testing of the first of the two radios, inside a clean room at Thales Alenia Space, in Cannes, France, in June 2014. Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/ESA/TAS

Update on TGO data relay

The first in-flight data-relay tests were conducted with the NASA rovers in November 2016; these were successful.

Artist's impression of one of the Earth Explorer Swarm satellites. Three identical satellites make up the constellation that is studying the dynamics of Earth's magnetic field. Credit: ESA/AOES Medialab

Debris manoeuvre abort

Today’s debris avoidance manoeuvre has been cancelled! To recap: Based on an assessment of information on hand as of late yesterday, it was clear that the conjunction – a close flyby – of a ca. 15-cm chunk...

Swarm satellite in space Credit: ESA

Swarm debris manoeuvre cancelled

Assessment this AM of latest debris object tracking data and Swarm-B orbit indicated conjunction risk has fallen to acceptable levels.

Commands for a debris avoidance manoeuvre were uploaded to Swarm-B from the EO mission control room at ESOC on 25 January 2017 at 08:51 CET. Credit: ESA

Commands on board

Update 10:30CET 25.01 Today’s debris avoidance manoeuvre is set! To recap: yesterday, it became clear to the Swarm mission team at ESA that an avoidance manoeuvre will most likely be necessary today to boost Swarm-B out of...

Main Control Room at ESA's European Space Operations Centre, Darmstadt, Germany. Credit: ESA/P. Shlyaev

Planned debris manoeuvre looks good

The Space Debris Office at ESOC have updated their conjunction alert based on the on-going manoeuvre planning. The news is positive! If the manoeuvre is conducted, the object is now forecast to pass in front of Swarm-B...

Swarm satellite in space Credit: ESA

Taking action at ESOC

If you read our earlier post, you’ll know that today there’s some interesting action going on at ESA’s ESOC operations centre in Darmstadt, Germany, where teams are reacting to a forecast conjunction between a piece of space...