Impacts of Center of Mass Shifts on Messenger Spacecraft OperationsThe MESSENGER (MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging) has successfully completed its first three years of flight operations following launch on August 3, 2004. As part of NASA s Discovery Program, MESSENGER will observe Mercury during flybys in 2008 and 2009, as well as from orbit beginning in March 2011. This paper discusses the impact that center of mass (CM) location changes have had on many mission activities, particularly angular momentum management and maneuver execution. Momentum trends were altered significantly following the first deep-space maneuver, and these changes were related to a change in the CM. The CM location also impacts maneuver execution, and uncertainties in its location led to the significant direction errors experienced at trajectory correction maneuver 11. Because of the spacecraft sensitivity to CM location, efforts to estimate its position are important to momentum and maneuver prediction. This paper summarizes efforts to estimate the CM from flight data, as well as the operational strategy to handle CM uncertainties and their impact on momentum trends and maneuver execution accuracy.
O'Shaughnessy, D. J. (Johns Hopkins Univ. MD, United States)
Vaughan, R. M. (Johns Hopkins Univ. MD, United States)
Chouinard, T. L., III (Johns Hopkins Univ. MD, United States)
Jaekle, D. E. (PMD Technology United States)
August 24, 2013
September 24, 2007
Publication: Proceedings of the 20th International Symposium on Space Flight Dynamics