Summary of the orbit determination of NOZOMI spacecraft for all the mission period

Makoto Yoshikawa, Jun'Ichiro Kawaguchi, Hiroshi Yamakawa, Takaji Kato, Tsutomu Ichikawa, Takafumi Ohnishi, Shiro Ishibashi

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Japanese first Mars explorer NOZOMI, which was launched in July 1998, suffered several problems during the operation period of more than five years. It could have reached near Mars at the end of 2003, but it was not put into the orbit around Mars. Although NOZOMI was not able to execute its main mission, it provided us a lot of good experiences from the point of the orbit determination of spacecraft. One of the most difficult works was the orbit determination for the period without the telemetry. In this period, for the most of the time the high gain antenna did not point to the earth because of a constraint of the attitude. Therefore, the quality of the tracking data was not good, and for some period it was impossible to get the tracking data at all. Under such critical condition, we managed to get the solution of the orbit, and in a near-miraculous way, we were able to control NOZOMI and execute two earth swingbys successfully. Other issues related to the orbit determination are the spin modulation, the solar radiation pressure, the small force related to the attitude change, and the solar conjunction. We tried to solve these issues by the conventional way using range and Doppler data. However, we also tried the new method, that is the orbit determination by using the Delta-VLBI method (VLBI: Very Long Baseline Interferometry). In addition to this, we tried optical observations of NOZOMI at the earth swingbys.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)510-519
Number of pages10
JournalActa Astronautica
Issue number2-8
Publication statusPublished - 2005 Jul
Externally publishedYes
EventInfinite Possibilities Global Realities, Selectred Proceedings of the 55th International Astronautical Federation Congress, Vancouver -
Duration: 2004 Oct 42004 Oct 8

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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