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Real life trumps animation

28 Sep 2016, 17:33 UTC
Real life trumps animation
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

As activity for the Rosetta Flight Control Team steadily winds down toward Friday’s end of mission, we’ve been hearing a number of ‘insider tales’ from the engineers, who are already reminiscing about their favourite moments from Rosetta’s epic journey. This was sent in by Armelle Hubault, spacecraft operations engineer responsible for automation, telecommanding and some of the instruments on Rosetta.
Spacecraft Operations Engineer Armelle Hubault, Rosetta Flight Control Tea, ESA/ESOC. Credit: ESA
This is not a ‘funny’ story as such, but it is one of the most satisfying moments from my time on the Rosetta team, and it happened around the time of Lutetia flyby.
I am very bad at visualising things in 3D; that is, in visualising Rosetta's attitude in space, at the correct position in the Solar System and with other objects around. This was especially so during the long cruise phase, when we were all over the place!
So while I was preparing for Lutetia flyby in summer 2010 , I was using a software package called Celestia to try and picture a bit what was happening. Doing so, I realised the software – which is pretty accurate – was showing me that, as we were approaching ...

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