Validating the ds1 remote agent experiment

Two or more asteroids let the spacecraft triangulate its position; two or more positions in time let the spacecraft determine its trajectory.Existing spacecraft are tracked by their interactions with the transmitters of the NASA Deep Space Network (DSN), in effect an inverse GPS.

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Furthermore, unforeseen side effects of ion propulsion might in some way interfere with typical scientific experiments, such as fields and particle measurements.

Therefore, it was a primary mission of the Deep Space 1 demonstration to show long-duration use of an ion thruster on a scientific mission.

ABLE Engineering developed the concentrator technology and built the solar array for DS1, with Entech Inc, who supplied the Fresnel optics, and the NASA Glenn Research Center.

The activity was sponsored by the Ballistic Missile Defense Organization.

However, DSN tracking requires many skilled operators, and the DSN is overburdened by its use as a communications network.

The use of Autonav reduces mission cost and DSN demands.

Another method for reducing DSN burdens is the Beacon Monitor experiment.

During the long cruise periods of the mission, spacecraft operations are essentially suspended.

Although ion engines had been developed at NASA since the late 1950s, with the exception of the SERT missions in the 1960s, the technology had not been demonstrated in flight on United States spacecraft, though hundreds of Hall-effect engines had been used on Soviet and Russian spacecraft.

This lack of a performance history in space meant that despite the potential savings in propellant mass, the technology was considered too experimental to be used for high-cost missions.

The spacecraft is programmed with the target's coarse location.

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