Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
  Moon News  

Subscribe free to our newsletters via your

SMART-1 Finally Escapes the Radiation Belts

taking the "mail train" to luna

Paris (ESA) Jan 07, 2004
The spacecraft is now in its 176th orbit, in good status and with all functions performing nominally. The first mission target, namely to exit the most dangerous part of the radiation belts, has been achieved! The pericentre altitude (the closest distance of the spacecraft from the centre of the Earth) will reach the prelaunch target of 20 000 km on 7 January 2004.

Between 23 December 2003 and 2 January 2004, the thruster fired continuously for a record duration of more than 240 hours. This is likely to remain the record for some time because later this week SMART-1 will change from a continuous thrust strategy to a more orbitally efficient thrust arcing.

The total cumulated thrust so far of more than 1500 hours, consuming 24 kg of Xenon, has provided a velocity increment of about 1070 ms-1 (equivalent to 3850 km per hour). The electric propulsion engine's performance, periodically monitored by means of the telemetry data transmitted by the spacecraft and by radio-tracking by the ground stations, continues to show a small over performance in thrust: varying from 1.1% to 1.5% over the last week.

The degradation of the electrical power produced by the solar arrays has now ceased. The power available has remained virtually constant since November 2003.

The communication, data handling, on-board software and thermal subsystems have been performing well in this period.

From the start the electric propulsion system has managed to increase the semi-major axis of the orbit by 13 179 km and increasing the perigee altitude from the original 656 km to 12 801 km. The orbital period has almost been doubled from the initial 10 hours 41 minutes to the present 20 hours and 19 minutes.

Email This Article

Related Links
Smart-1 Mission Site
Search SpaceDaily
Subscribe To SpaceDaily Express
Mars News and Information at
Lunar Dreams and more

SMART-1 Chalks Up Another 2K On The Long Way To The Moon
Paris - Jan 01, 2004
The spacecraft is now in its 169th orbit, in good status and with all functions performing nominally. The spacecraft has been functioning in electric propulsion mode for the whole week, continuously thrusting since the flame-out and subsequent entry into safe mode last week.

  • Wanted: 'Space Depot' For The Rocket Builders
  • The Spaceship And The Zeppelin
  • Space Adventures Signs Two For Soyuz Taxi With Option On Two More Seats
  • Space Adventures Claims Two Soyuz Tickets Sold

  • NASA Brings Mars Online As 1300 Servers Share The Load
  • ILC Dover Airbags Cushion MER Spirit Landing on Mars
  • Space Shuttle Columbia Crew Memorialized On Mars
  • Rover Adds Color To Mars View: Full Panorama By Next Week

  • Boeing Selects Leader for Nuclear Space Systems Program
  • Boeing-Led Team to Study Nuclear-Powered Space Systems
  • Boeing To Build Space-borne Power Generator
  • New High-Purity Plutonium Sources Produced At Los Alamos

  • Planetary Survivor Strategy: Outeat, "Outweigh," Outlast!
  • Planet-Formation Model Indicates Earthlike Planets Might Be Common
  • New Evidence For Solar-Like Planetary System Around Nearby Star
  • Missing Link Sought In Planetary Evolution

  • Researchers Create First Ever Integrated Silicon Circuit With Nanotube Transistors
  • Tiny Nanowire Could Be Next Big Diagnostic Tool For Doctors
  • Researchers Discover Materials Retain Useful Properties At Nanoscale
  • Nanotechnology's Homeland Security Potential To Be Explored

  • SARS Coronavirus Part Bird, Part Mammal: Study
  • Chimp Genome Assembled: Draft Sequence Aligned With Human Genome
  • Solution To Hospital Infections Could Be In The Air
  • Space: A Bad Influence On Microbes?

  • Arianespace Maintains Pole Position In Civil Launch Market
  • Sea Launch Embarks on the First Mission of 2004
  • XTAR Selects Arianespace To Launch The XTAR-EUR Satellite
  • ILS Closes out 2003 with 6 Successful Launches, 11 New Awards

  • Magnetic Bubbles In Space: A New Propulsion Concept?
  • Ion Engine Design Passes Key Nasa Test
  • New Composite Hydrogen Fuel Tank For RLVs Successfully Tested
  • SpaceShipOne Breaks the Sound Barrier

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement