Tag Archives: flight dynamics

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...

The three identical satellites were launched together on one rocket in 2013. Two satellites orbit almost side-by-side at the same altitude – initially at about 460 km, descending to around 300 km over the lifetime of the mission. The third satellite is in a higher orbit, at 530 km, and at a slightly different inclination. Credit: ESA–P. Carril, 2013

ESA teams respond to debris risk

A close approach for Swarm-B with a piece of ca. 15-cm debris is forecast for 25 January at 23:10:55 UTC. We're doing something about it.

Artist's impression of the ExoMars 2016 Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) and Schiaparelli – the entry, descent and landing demonstrator module (EDM). Credit: ESA/ATG medialab

Little burn results

Here’s an update on the second deep-space manoeuvre (DSM-2) with the final assessment based on post-burn tracking data. The burn took place on Thursday, 11 August, DSM-2 and targeted a delta-v of 17.7 m/second during a run...

Hitting a comet named Kevin

A fabulous post over at XKCD’s What if? BTW: We already knew the answer to this – we just asked ESA’s flight dynamics experts! Astrophysicists are always saying things like “This mission to this comet is equivalent to...

The flight dynamics expertise behind Gaia’s criti...

Today is a big day for the flight dynamics experts who determine and predict trajectories, prepare orbit manoeuvres and determine satellite attitudes. At around 19:58 CET this evening, five of Gaia’s eight thrusters will be commanded to fire an automated burn lasting almost two hours. It’s a critical manoeuvre meant to bring Gaia onto its planned operational orbit about the L2 Lagrange point (a second, smaller, burn on 14 January will complete the process). The event may appear straightforward, but it marks the culmination of years of careful mission analysis work supported by orbital calculations. The ease of getting into the proper orbit – denoted by a mere two lines in the mission...