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Huygens Radio Link In-Flight Performance

Huygens Radio Link In-Flight Performance

Publication date: 02 May 2006

Authors: Perez-Ayucar, M., et al.

Journal: Proceedings of the 3rd International Planetary Probe
Volume: ESA WPP-263
Year: 2006

Copyright: ESA

Huygens is the ESA-provided element of the joint NASA/ESA/ASI Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn and its largest moon Titan. The spacecraft, delivered to the interface altitude of 1270 km above the surface by NASA/JPL, dived into the dense atmosphere of Titan on 14th January 2005 and landed on the surface after a nominal descent of 2.5 hours. The scientific and housekeeping data was continuously transmitted after the heat shield release to Cassini and relayed back to Earth in a later retransmission through the Deep Space Network. Probably the most challenging activity after launch was the identification and recovery from a design flaw in the communications system that, if not corrected, would have led to major loss of scientific data, accounting up to 80 - 90% of the complete dataset. It was February 2000 and the first in-flight test of the Probe relay link was executed. Although results confirmed the expected carrier level performance, unexpected behavior was observed at data-stream level: in particular, the receiver showed anomalous behavior when working at the mission Doppler.

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