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(abstract) ARGOS: a System to Monitor Ulysses Nutation and Thruster Firings from Variations of the Spacecraft Radio SignalUlysses is a spin-stabilized spacecraft that experienced significant nutation after its launch in October 1990. This was due to the Sun-spacecraft-Earth geometry, and a study of the phenomenon predicted that the nutation would again be a problem during 1994-95. The difficulty of obtaining nutation estimates in real time from the spacecraft telemetry forced the ESA/NASA Ulysses Team to explore alternative information sources. The work performed by the ESA Operations Team provided a model for a system that uses the radio signal strength measurements to monitor the spacecraft dynamics. These measurements (referred to as AGC) are provided once per second by the tracking stations of the DSN. The system was named ARGOS (Attitude Reckoning from Ground Observable Signals) after the ever-vigilant, hundred-eyed giant of Greek Mythology. The ARGOS design also included Doppler processing, because Doppler shifts indicate thruster firings commanded by the active nutation control carried out onboard the spacecraft. While there is some visibility into thruster activity from telemetry, careful processing of the high-sample-rate Doppler data provides an accurate means of detecting the presence and time of thruster firings. DSN Doppler measurements are available at a ten-per-second rate in the same tracking data block as the AGC data.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
External Source(s)
McElrath, T. P.
Cangahuala, L. A.
Miller, K. J.
Stravert, L. R.
Garcia-Perez, Raul
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
June 19, 1995
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion and Power
Distribution Limits
Ulysses nutation Doppler radio signal strength measurements spacecraft dynamics
telemetry thrusters