ESA GNC Conference Papers Repository

Solar Orbiter AOCS In-Flight Return of Experience
Ilario Cantiello, Guillaume Monroig, Emanuela Palombo, Vasco Pereira
Presented at:
Virtual Conference 2021
Full paper:

ESA Solar Orbiter?s journey around the Sun starts in the early morning of 10th of February 2020 UTC, launched from Cape Canaveral on ATLAS V 411 rocket supplied by NASA, for an unprecedented mission to study our star up-close, reaching a perihelion of 0.28AU and a solar inclination at mission end of 33deg. This paper presents an overview of the AOCS operations and in-flight results in the first 4 months of the mission, covering LEOP, Near Earth Commissioning Phase (NECP) and beginning of Cruise Phase. The LEOP is defined as lasting 3 up to 7 days from launch until the completion of the initial trajectory correction manoeuvre, which marks the beginning of the NECP. The first Rate damping and Sun Acquisition performance is analysed, alongside the Solar Array deployment phase and entry to Earth Strobing mode, marking the end of the LEOP auto-sequence. Further operations and key performances are presented, including the commissioning of the AOCS units, Wheel Safe Mode, Wheel Offloading, Normal Control Mode, deployment of instrument appendages such as Radio Plasma Wave Antennas and I-boom, and the first Orbit Control Modes entered for Launch Correction Manoeuvres. In conclusion, some lessons learnt from this first period in orbit are presented.