Rosetta science working team reports excellent progress
19 January 1999Some 100 scientists and engineers came together during the latest meetingof the RosettaScience Working Team (SWT) at the European Space Research and TechnologyCentre(ESTEC) in Noordwijk, Netherlands, on 14 and 15 January. Those present included representatives from theUnited States as well as all ESA member states.
Following the completion of various design reviews, it was generally agreed that Rosetta is making excellent progress. With very few exceptions, the project was proceeding smoothly and attendees expressed confidence that the mission would be a great success.
Reporting on the current status, Rosetta project manager Bruno Gardini noted that the ESA Industrial Policy Committee had given final approval for the phase C/D contract and that the build-up of the Rosetta industrial team is now complete.
Mr Gardini also noted the following points:
- The locations of the various scientific instruments on the spacecraft have now been finalised.
- The thermal design of the spacecraft has been confirmed as satisfactory, bearing in mind the great changes in temperature which the spacecraft will have to undergo.
- In addition to the S-band up/down link, an X-band radio uplink will be installed. This is due to potential conflicts with frequencies used by future mobile telephone systems involving constellations of satellites in low-Earth orbit.
- Arianespace is confident that the upgraded Ariane-5 will be sufficiently powerful to launch Rosetta, but there is little margin to spare so science and engineering teams must take care to meet their specified target weights.
- With the spacecraft industrial consortium now complete, activities are focusing on detailed design at unit level. Payload Design Reviews are under way, and system level Mechanical and Electrical Hardware Design Reviews are planned for later in the year.
- The programme to develop the spacecraft structural and thermal model will be given priority in the immediate future.