PUMA
Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell'Informazione     
Lucchesi D. M., Iafolla V. The non-gravitational perturbations impact on the BepiColombo radio science experiment and the key rôle of the ISA accelerometer: direct solar radiation and albedo effects. In: Celestial Mechanics & Dynamical Astronomy, vol. 96 (2) pp. 99 - 127. Springer, 2006.
 
 
Abstract
(English)
The paper is focused on the estimate of the impact of the non-gravitational perturbations on the orbit of the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO), one of the two spacecrafts that will be placed in orbit around the innermost planet of the solar system by the BepiColombo space mission. The key rôle of the Italian Spring Accelerometer (ISA), that has been selected by the European Space Agency (ESA) to fly on-board theMPO, is outlined. In the first part of the paper, through a numerical simulation and analysis we have estimated, over a time span of several years, the long-period behaviours of the disturbing accelerations produced by the incoming direct solar radiation pressure, and the indirect effects produced by Mercury's albedo. The variations in the orbital parameters of the spacecraft, together with their spectral contents, have been estimated over the analysed period. The direct solar radiation pressure represents the strongest non-gravitational perturbation on the MPO in the very complex radiation environment of Mercury. The order-of-magnitude of this acceleration is quite high, about 10−6 m/s2, because of the proximity to the Sun and the large area-to-mass ratio of the spacecraft. In the second part of the paper, we concentrated upon the shortperiod effects of direct solar radiation pressure and Mercury's albedo. In particular, the disturbing accelerations have been compared with the ISA measurement error and the advantages of an on-board accelerometer are highlighted with respect to the best modelling of the non-gravitational perturbations in the strong radiation environment of Mercury. The readings from ISA, with an intrinsic noise level of about 10−9 m/s2/√Hz in the frequency band of 3·10−5-10−1 Hz, guarantees a very significant reduction of the non-gravitational accelerations impact on the space mission accuracy, especially of the dominant direct solar radiation pressure.
URL: http://springerlink.metapress.com/content/82h74h6675g86q63/fulltext.pdf
Subject Astronomy
Astrodynamics
J.2 Physical Sciences and Engineering
70F15


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