Earth swingby navigation campaign up to 12 November 2009
On 13 November 2009, Rosetta will perform its third Earth swing-by. This plot shows the target point (green) for Rosetta's approach relative to the Earth in the B-plane. The B-plane is a planar coordinate system that allows targeting during a gravity assist.
The target is not the point of closest approach. Instead this virtual point corresponds to what would be Rosetta's miss distance if the Earth had no gravity. (It is the point through which the spacecraft's incoming hyperbolic asymptotic velocity vector passes, which is perpendicular to this B-plane).
Based on radiometric data from the navigation campaign the Rosetta flight dynamics team has determined solutions for the spacecraft's predicted incoming trajectory in the B-plane. This plot shows the evolution of the navigation campaign from 26 October to 12 November 2009.
Successively more accurate determinations of the predicted point relative to the target were obtained using data up to 26 October (black), 29 October (red), 2 November (purple), 5 November (orange), 10 November (brown) and 12 November (pink). For each date the associated 3-sigma error ellipse is also given.