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Proceedings Paper

Testing and validation of orbital operations plans for the MESSENGER mission
Author(s): Alice F. Berman; Deborah L. Domingue; Mark E. Holdridge; Teck H. Choo; R. Joshua Steele; Richard G. Shelton
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Paper Abstract

Launched in 2004, the MErcury Surface, Space ENvironment, GEochemistry, and Ranging (MESSENGER) spacecraft continues on its journey to become, in 2011, the first spacecraft to orbit the planet Mercury. The goal of MESSENGER's one-year orbital mission is to answer several key questions about the structure and history of Mercury and its environment. The science and mission operations teams are testing a concept of operations to use the instrument payload most efficiently and to achieve full mission success. To ensure that all essential observations are obtained and to allow for contingencies, an advance science planning (ASP) effort will develop the full yearlong mission baseline plan prior to orbit insertion. To ensure that the plan can be adapted in response to unexpected events over time, an adjusted baseline plan will be regenerated in the ASP process every five weeks during the actual orbital mission. The near-term science planning (NTSP) activity converts weeklong portions of the baseline plan into executable commands to conduct the orchestrated observations. A feedback process from NTSP to ASP will be used to ensure that the baseline observing plan accounts for and reschedules any unsuccessful observations. A testing and validation plan has been developed for the processes and software that underlie both advance and near-term science planning.

Paper Details

Date Published: 30 July 2010
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 7737, Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems III, 77370D (30 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.857107
Show Author Affiliations
Alice F. Berman, The Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Deborah L. Domingue, Planetary Science Institute (United States)
Mark E. Holdridge, The Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Teck H. Choo, The Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
R. Joshua Steele, The Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Richard G. Shelton, The Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7737:
Observatory Operations: Strategies, Processes, and Systems III
David R. Silva; Alison B. Peck; B. Thomas Soifer, Editor(s)

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