ExoMars: Checking in with the Trace Gas Orbiter

ExoMars2016_TGO_EDM_Cruise_20160218_1280Three months since launch and with a little over 260 million km to travel before reaching Mars, the ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter instruments are running through their paces this week during the mid-course checkout tests.

Back in April, the first in-flight checks on the Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO) science payload were carried out, during the near-Earth commissioning tests. At that time, commands to ACS, CaSSIS, NOMAD, and FREND were sent in real time by operators at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

The results from those tests have been carefully scrutinised by the principal investigators and used to fine-tune the calibration and configuration checks that will be carried out this week.

This time around the tests will be run autonomously from the onboard mission timeline, with no real-time intervention, just as will be the case during routine science operations. The commands, generated by the ExoMars Science Ground Segment team at the European Space Astronomy Centre, were sent to the spacecraft by mission operators on 8 June via the New Norcia ground station and are being executed on board this week. [More at link]

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