Status Report

NEAR Mission Status Report 18 Feb

By SpaceRef Editor
February 18, 2000
Filed under


We’ve had a good week.

The NEAR satellite entered Eros orbit on February 14 at 15:34 UTC after
completion of the planned orbit insertion maneuver. Way to go NEAR team!

The latest orbit solution indicates NEAR’s orbit around Eros is 323km x
370km. This solution is changing, partially due to navigation
uncertainties and “solar sailing” effects.

The NIS Low Phase Flyby executed flawlessly during the 30 hour period
leading up to and including Eros closest approach. All data has been
recovered although the first attempt to playback the data via the DSN
Madrid Station was not successful due to station setup recording problems.

The NEAR satellite continued to operate nominally in Operational Mode with
Flight Computer #1 and Attitude Interface Unit #2 in control. The MSI,
NIS, and MAG instruments remained “ON” during this week except during a
brief safing event mentioned later. S/C Attitude pointing continues to
alternate between Eros nadir proximity pointing, Earth pointing, and Sun
pointing as required to conduct Eros orbital operations.

Science activities conducted this week, post orbit insertion, included
Eros “high altitude” observations with the MSI, NIS, and MAG instruments.
These have included a combination of the following activities on a daily

– Navigation optical navigation
– MSI/NIS Daily Global observations
– MSI/NIS Global Morphology observations

All of the above instrument activities executed successfully onboard the
NEAR spacecraft.

One unexpected post insertion anomaly did occur. NEAR entered Earth Safe
Mode on 2/16/00 at 18:36 UTC. The Earth Safe was triggered by loss of
stars in the star tracker. A work around was implemented and the NEAR was
placed back into Operations Mode that same day with Science observations
resuming with a MSI/NIS Daily Global on 2/17/00 at 13:30 UTC. The MSI/NIS
Rotation Sequence scheduled for 06:45 UTC that same day was cancelled to
permit time for the recovery. The recovery operation was prolonged due to
problems with the DSN Madrid Station equipment or setup.

Upcoming Spacecraft Activities:

In addition to regular Eros tracking and optical navigation, the following
are operationally significant activities planned: Please consult NEAR
science timelines for more details regarding upcoming science activities.

Feb 24/1700 UTC Eros Orbit Correction Maneuver 1

SpaceRef staff editor.