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Farewell to Phobos (for now anyway)

31 Mar 2010, 13:59 UTC
Farewell to Phobos (for now anyway)
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As this particular Phobos flyby season comes to an end, I caught up with Michel Denis, spacecraft operations manager; Nicolas Altobelli, scientist with the science ground segment; and Olivier Witasse, project scientist, to ask how it all went and what we can look forward to in the future. -- StuartThis has been the most ambitious Phobos flyby campaign yet attempted, how did it go? Michel Denis: “After almost 8000 orbits which have all been a bit different from each other, and after about 10 Phobos campaigns, we had mixed feelings between the old-sailor's confidence "it will be all-right, we have mastered much more complex activities already" and the juvenile excitement of the beginners "it's so close, and we must turn the spacecraft swiftly, and what happens if...?" Credits: ESA/DLR/FU Berlin (G. Neukum) Both were true. After all it was just another couple of observations, well prepared like all the others thanks to well known processes, proven tools and above all the expertise of the people. Still, a few things were special in the way Mars Express was used, and a few minor events happened that forced a few individuals to react within a few hours, in order to recover a ...

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