N K Malik
Articles written in Journal of Earth System Science
Volume 114 Issue 6 December 2005 pp 739-748
The Chandrayaan-1 mission proposes to put a 550 kg lunarcraft into Geostationary Transfer Orbit (GTO) using the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) which will subsequently be transferred into a 100 km circular lunar polar orbit for imaging purposes. In this paper, we describe certain aspects of mission strategies which will allow optimum power generation and imaging of the lunar surface.
The lunar orbit considered is circular and polar and therefore nearly perpendicular to the ecliptic plane. Unlike an Earth orbiting remote sensing satellite, the orbit plane of lunar orbiter is inertially fixed as a consequence of the very small oblateness of the Moon. The Earth rotates around the Sun once a year, resulting in an apparent motion of Sun around this orbit in a year. Two extreme situations can be identified concerning the solar illumination of the lunar orbit, noon/midnight orbit, where the Sun vector is parallel to the spacecraft orbit plane and dawn/dusk orbit, where the Sun vector is perpendicular to the spacecraft orbit plane. This scenario directly affects the solar panel configuration. In case the solar panels are not canted, during the noon/midnight orbit, 100% power is generated, whereas during the dawn/dusk orbit, zero power is generated. Hence for optimum power generation, canting of the panels is essential. Detailed analysis was carried out to fix optimum canting and also determine a strategy to maintain optimum power generation throughout the year. The analysis led to the strategy of 180‡ yaw rotation at noon/midnight orbits and flipping the solar panel by 180‡ at dawn/dusk orbits. This also resulted in the negative pitch face of the lunarcraft to be an anti-sun panel, which is very useful for thermal design, and further to meet cooling requirements of the spectrometers.
In principle the Moon’s surface can be imaged in 28 days, because the orbit chosen and the payload swath provide adequate overlap. However, in reality it is not possible to complete the imaging in 28 days due to various mission constraints like maximum duration of imaging allowed keeping in view the SSR sizing and payloads data input rate, time required for downlinking the payload data, data compression requirements and visibility of the lunarcraft for the Bangalore DSN. In each cycle, all the latitudes are swept. Due to the constraints mentioned, only 60‡ latitude arc coverage is possible in each orbit. As Bangalore DSN is the only station, half of the orbits in a day are not available. The longitudinal gaps because of non-visibility are covered in the next cycle by Bangalore DSN. Hence, in the first
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