Istituto di Scienza e Tecnologie dell'Informazione     
Iafolla V., Lucchesi D. M., Nozzoli S., Santoli F. ISA accelerometer onboard the Mercury Planetary Orbiter: error budget. In: Celestial Mechanics & Dynamical Astronomy, vol. 97 (3) pp. 165 - 187. Springer, 2007.
We have estimated a preliminary error budget for the Italian Spring Accelerometer (ISA) that will be allocated onboard the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) of the European Space Agency (ESA) space mission to Mercury named BepiColombo. The role of the accelerometer is to remove from the list of unknowns the non-gravitational accelerations that perturb the gravitational trajectory followed by the MPO in the strong radiation environment that characterises the orbit of Mercury around the Sun. Such a role is of fundamental importance in the context of the very ambitious goals of the Radio Science Experiments (RSE) of the BepiColombo mission.We have subdivided the errors on the accelerometer measurements into two main families: (i) the pseudo-sinusoidal errors and (ii) the random errors. The former are characterised by a periodic behaviour with the frequency of the satellite mean anomaly and its higher order harmonic components, i.e., they are deterministic errors. The latter are characterised by an unknown frequency distribution and we assumed for them a noise-like spectrum, i.e., they are stochastic errors. Among the pseudosinusoidal errors, the main contribution is due to the effects of the gravity gradients and the inertial forces, while among the random-like errors the main disturbing effect is due to the MPO centre-of-mass displacements produced by the onboard High Gain Antenna (HGA)movements and by the fuel consumption and sloshing.Very subtle to be considered are also the random errors produced by the MPO attitude corrections necessary to guarantee the nadir pointing of the spacecraft.We have therefore formulated the ISA error budget and the requirements for the satellite in order to guarantee an orbit reconstruction for the MPO spacecraft with an along-track accuracy of about 1m over the orbital period of the satellite around Mercury in such a way to satisfy the RSE requirements.
URL: http://springerlink.metapress.com/content/cl36876285266238/fulltext.pdf
DOI: 10.1007/s10569-006-9059-0
Subject Astronomy
J.2 Physical Sciences and Engineering

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