No. 8 - End of Near Earth Commissioning Phase
20 December 2005 15:22Report for Period 09 December to 15 December 2005
During the reporting period the last activities of the Near Earth Commissioning have been completed according to the plan. Two slots with the New Norcia ground station have been dedicated to test the performance of the TTC subsystem and of the Ultra Stable Oscillator (USO) for the radio science experiment (VeRA). In both occasions problems in operating the ground station equipment have affected the test.
The ASPERA instrument has been switched on for the first time and commissioned with nominal results. Finally all the instruments, except for PFS, have been operated together for an interference test.
The first DSN tracking pass has been conducted from the Goldstone complex.
The table below shows a chronology of the main activities in the reporting period:
At the end of the last Cebreros pass in the reporting period (DOY 349, 19:00) Venus Express was at 8.9 million km from the Earth, 140.2 million km from the Sun, and 45.9 million km from Venus. The one-way signal travel time was 29.7 seconds.
The NECP is now complete. The batteries will be discharged to 50% of their capacity and will be recharged around mid January for the payload check-out. In the next three weeks only navigation activities will be done (DSN tracking passes, DDOR measurements with ESA and DSN stations), and operations will be resumed mid January 06.
From the 5 to the 13 January 2006 operations will be conducted with the New Norcia station due to unavailability of the Cebreros station.
The next mission operations report will cover the period from 16 December 2005 to 5 January 2006.