No. 7 - Science Payload Milestone
13 April 2004 09:42
Report for week 3 to 9 April 2004
Payload commissioning activities have reached an important milestone in the reporting period: all scientific instruments have been activated at least once since the beginning of the mission.
This period saw the completion of the MIRO commissioning slot and the first activation and commissioning of GIADA and MIDAS. The new attitude pointing mode (GSEP Earth pointing) has been initiated and will be kept for most of the year. Periodic re-pointing operations to avoid the Sun from coming too close to the +X spacecraft axis are planned, typically once per month.
Priority on use of the New Norcia ground station has been returned to Mars Express, to support their main science phase. This results in a reduction of the duration of the daily coverage from the initial 11 hours down to about 7 hours. However in all cases when Mars Express does not plan to make use of the full coverage, the remaining time is released to Rosetta and the ground contact with the spacecraft is longer. This happened already twice in the reporting period.
All activities were executed according to plan.
At the end of the last New Norcia pass in the reporting period (DOY 100, 02:50) Rosetta was at 13.4 million km from the Earth. The one-way signal travel time was 44.8 seconds. With respect to the Sun, the spacecraft is now at a 138.4 million km (0.922 AU) distance, rapidly approaching its minimum distance of 132.6 million km (0.886 AU), which will be reached on 25 May.