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Flight Dynamics Performances of the MetOp A Satellite during the First Months of OperationsThe 19th of October 2006 at 16:28 UTC the first MetOp satellite (MetOp A) was successfully launched from the Baykonur cosmodrome by a Soyuz/Fregat launcher. After only three days of LEOP operations, performed by ESOC, the satellite was handed over to EUMETSAT, who is since then taking care of all satellite operations. MetOp A is the first European operational satellite for meteorology flying in a Low Earth Orbit (LEO), all previous satellites operated by EUMETSAT, belonging to the METEOSAT family, being located in the Geo-stationary orbit. To ensure safe operations for a LEO satellite accurate and continuous commanding from ground of the on-board AOCS is required. That makes the operational transition at the end of the LEOP quite challenging, as the continuity of the Flight Dynamics operations is to be maintained. That means that the main functions of the Flight Dynamics have to be fully validated on-flight during the LEOP, before taking over the operational responsibility on the spacecraft, and continuously monitored during the entire mission. Due to the nature of a meteorological operational mission, very stringent requirements in terms of overall service availability (99 % of the collected data), timeliness of processing of the observation data (3 hours after sensing) and accuracy of the geo-location of the meteorological products (1 km) are to be fulfilled. That translates in tight requirements imposed to the Flight Dynamics facility (FDF) in terms of accuracy, timeliness and availability of the generated orbit and clock solutions; a detailed monitoring of the quality of these products is thus mandatory. Besides, being the accuracy of the image geo-location strongly related with the pointing performance of the platform and with the on-board timing stability, monitoring from ground of the behaviour of the on-board sensors and clock is needed. This paper presents an overview of the Flight Dynamics operations performed during the different phases of the MetOp A mission up to routine. The activities performed to validate all the Flight Dynamics functions, characterize the behaviour of the satellite and monitor the performances of the Flight Dynamics facility will be highlighted. The MetOp Flight Dynamics Operations team is led by Anders Meier Soerensen and composed by Pier Luigi Righetti, Francisco Sancho, Antimo Damiano and David Lazaro. The team is supported by Hilda Meixner, responsible for all Flight Dynamics validation activities.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Righetti, Pier Luigi
(European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites Darmstadt, Germany)
Meixner, Hilda
(European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites Darmstadt, Germany)
Sancho, Francisco
(GMV Darmstadt, Germany)
Damiano, Antimo
(RHEA System S.A. Darmstadt, Germany)
Lazaro, David
(Space Operations Consulting Darmstadt, Germany)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
September 24, 2007
Publication Information
Publication: Proceedings of the 20th International Symposium on Space Flight Dynamics
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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