Effects on Spacecraft Radiometric Data at Superior Solar ConjunctionDuring 2006, three ESA interplanetary spacecraft, Rosetta, Mars Express (MEX) and Venus Express (VEX), passed through superior solar conjunction. For all three spacecraft, the noise in the post-fit range-rate residuals from the orbit determination was analysed. At small Sun-Earth-Probe (SEP) angles the level was almost two orders of magnitude higher than normal. The main objective was to characterize the Doppler (rangerate) noise as a function of SEP angle. At least then the range-rate data can be appropriately weighted within the orbit determination so that the solution uncertainties are realistic. For VEX, some intervals of particularly noisy Doppler data could be correlated with unusual solar activity. For Rosetta, the biases in the range data residuals were analysed with the aim of improving the model used for calibrating the signal delay due to the solar plasma. The model, which originally had fixed coefficients, was adjusted to achieve better fits to the data. Even the relatively small Doppler biases were well represented. Using the improved model, the electron density at 20 solar radii was compared with earlier results obtained by radio science studies using Voyager 2 and Ulysses radiometric data. There is some evidence for a dependency of the density on the phase within the 11 years solar cycle.
Morley, Trevor (European Space Agency. European Space Operations Center Darmstadt, Germany)
Budnik, Frank (European Space Agency. European Space Operations Center Darmstadt, Germany)
August 24, 2013
September 24, 2007
Publication: Proceedings of the 20th International Symposium on Space Flight Dynamics