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VLBI tracking of the solar sail mission IKAROS


Takeuchi, H and Horiuchi, S and Phillips, C and Edwards, P and McCallum, J and Ellingsen, S and Dickey, JM and Ichikawa, R and Takefuji, K and Yamaguchi, T and Kurihara, S and Ichikawa, B and Yoshikawa, M and Tomiki, A and Sawada, H and Jinsong, P, VLBI tracking of the solar sail mission IKAROS, General Assembly and Scientific Symposium, 2011 XXXth URSI, 13-20 August, Istanbul, Turkey, pp. 1-4. (2011) [Refereed Conference Paper]

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Copyright 2011 IEEE

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DOI: doi:10.1109/URSIGASS.2011.6051213


IKAROS (Interplanetary Kite-craft Accelerated by Radiation Of the Sun) is the world's first spacecraft to successfully demonstrate solar-sail technology in interplanetary space. The spacecraft is made of square shape of very thin membrane, whose diagonal dimension is 20m. By changing its attitude toward Sun, radiation pressure of solar photons can be used as propulsive force of the spacecraft. To determine the orbit under the continuous big influence of the nongravitational perturbative force (i.e. solar radiation pressure), Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) observation is effective because sky plane position of the spacecraft can be directly and instantaneously measured by VLBI observables without (or with less dependence on) a priori assumption for solar radiation pressure model. In order to effectively perform VLBI measurements, a signal generator of Differential One-way Range (DOR) tones, which consist of multiple tones whose spanning bandwidth is about 28MHz, was developed and installed to the spacecraft. A digital backend system for the ground stations which has maximum output performance of 4-Gbps had also developed to sample wideband DOR tones. A total number of 24 international VLBI experiments were carried out by using totally 15 antennas among 8 agencies during July and August in 2010. As a result of initial analysis, measurement accuracy of VLBI delay was confirmed to be 50 pico second level, which is 20 times improved precision compared to the JAXA's conventional deep space spacecraft such as Hayabusa and Akatsuki.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Conference Paper
Keywords:space vehicles, extraterrestrial measurements, delay, space missions, solar radiation
Research Division:Physical Sciences
Research Group:Astronomical sciences
Research Field:Galactic astronomy
Objective Division:Expanding Knowledge
Objective Group:Expanding knowledge
Objective Field:Expanding knowledge in the physical sciences
UTAS Author:McCallum, J (Dr Jamie McCallum)
UTAS Author:Ellingsen, S (Professor Simon Ellingsen)
UTAS Author:Dickey, JM (Professor John Dickey)
ID Code:117069
Year Published:2011
Deposited By:Mathematics and Physics
Deposited On:2017-05-30
Last Modified:2017-11-03

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