In its 332nd orbit around the Earth, after three weeks of unpowered flight, the electric propulsion (EP) drive was fired on 15 November at 05:24 UT, to bring the spacecraft into lunar orbit. Roughly 12 hours later, at 17:48 UT, SMART-1 had its first perilune passage.
This first burn in a series of EP firings, lasted 108 hours and ended on 19 November 2004 at 17:48 UTC. Over the next three months, periodic firing of the EP resulted in the continuous reduction of the orbit's semi-major axis, allowing SMART-1 to reach its operational orbit around the Moon.
The following table lists the dates of the first 12 perilune passages as well as the period between two sequencial passages. It shows the steady decrease in orbital period caused by the lowering of SMART-1's orbit.
|Event||Day and Time (UTC)||Period (h)|
|Perilune Passage 1|| |
15-11-2004 @ 17:47:38.762Z
|Perilune Passage 2||19-11-2004 @ 11:01:02.127Z||75|
|Perilune Passage 3||22-11-2004 @ 14:29:38.449Z||69|
|Perilune Passage 4||25-11-2004 @ 11:36:11.520Z||59|
|Perilune Passage 5||27-11-2004 @ 22:42:28.011Z||59|
|Perilune Passage 6||30-11-2004 @ 01:59:00.054Z||51|
|Perilune Passage 7||01-12-2004 @ 23:25:21.011Z||46|
|Perilune Passage 8||03-12-2004 @ 16:05:27.002Z||41|
|Perilune Passage 9||05-12-2004 @ 05:08:18.135Z||37|
|Perilune Passage 10||06-12-2004 @ 15:08:27.116Z||34|
|Perilune Passage 11||07-12-2004 @ 22:40:07.437Z||31|
|Perilune Passage 12||09-12-2004 @ 04:08:57.443Z||29|
Between 10 and 18 January 2005 the EP operations were temporarily interrupted to estimate the remaining fuel and plan accurately for a mission extension. After this period, the periodic firing of the EP resumed and SMART-1 reached its operational orbit on 27 February, some three and a half months after lunar capture.
Status Reports Coverage
The period from lunar capture up to reaching the operational orbit is covered in the status reports no. 31 to no. 35