PRISMA Blog | 17. April 2012 | posted by Ralf Faller

Resuming Activities for PRISMA

A long time has passed since the last Blog entry. After return of the PRISMA formation to the Swedish Mission Control Center in Solna in August last year, several reports were generated and data evaluated, but we still had an unfinished business with PRISMA. One interesting experiment, which could not be performed during the GSOC operations phase, was still outstanding.

Thus, the following months were used to check the left financial and personnel resources and to completely redesign the experiment. The initial experiment duration was reduced to one week. In parallel, negotiations with OHB Sweden about additional costs and the scheduling were conducted and it took a long time until an agreement could be achieved, but we finally succeeded.

The experiment named ARGON (Advanced Rendezvous demo using GPS and Optical Navigation) will be conducted from Sweden for five days. Beginning on 24th April 2012, a team of five colleagues form the GSOC Spaceflight Technology department will supervise the execution of the last GSOC experiment from Solna. They will fully concentrate on ARGON whilst the flight operations are carried out by the OHB-SE personnel. It was absolutely clear for all participants, that the PRISMA satellites could not be operated by GSOC again only for this experiment. The effort for preparation and conduction of a safe control handover would be out of all proportion to the ARGON experiment.

The main task of ARGON is to perform a ground-based rendezvous to a non-cooperative Client (Tango) using angle-only vision-based measurements from approximately 30 km down to 3 km separation. The experiment will be highly representative of the on-orbit-servicing scenario envisioned for the DLR's DEOS mission, which is currently in a preliminary design phase (Phase-B).

Herewith, I am delighted in announcing another Blog entry soon, which will report about execution and the results of ARGON.

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About the author

Ralf Faller has been a researcher in the Department of Space Operations and Astronaut Training at DLR in Oberpfaffenhofen since 1991. His current responsibilities include robotic space and servicing missions. to authorpage

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