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Cassini Spacecraft In-Flight Swap to Backup Attitude Control ThrustersNASA's Cassini Spacecraft, launched on October 15th, 1997 and arrived at Saturn on June 30th, 2004, is the largest and most ambitious interplanetary spacecraft in history. In order to meet the challenging attitude control and navigation requirements of the orbit profile at Saturn, Cassini is equipped with a monopropellant thruster based Reaction Control System (RCS), a bipropellant Main Engine Assembly (MEA) and a Reaction Wheel Assembly (RWA). In 2008, after 11 years of reliable service, several RCS thrusters began to show signs of end of life degradation, which led the operations team to successfully perform the swap to the backup RCS system, the details and challenges of which are described in this paper. With some modifications, it is hoped that similar techniques and design strategies could be used to benefit other spacecraft.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
External Source(s)
Bates, David M.
(Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
May 26, 2015
Publication Date
August 2, 2010
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Meeting Information
Meeting: AIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference 2010
Location: Toronto, ON
Country: Canada
Start Date: August 2, 2010
End Date: August 5, 2010
Sponsors: American Astronautical Society, American Inst. of Aeronautics and Astronautics
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