NEAR Shoemaker continued to operate nominally this past week in orbit around the asteroid 433 Eros. NEAR Shoemaker has been in Operational Mode with Flight Computer #1 and Attitude Interface Unit #2 in control. All instruments remained "ON" during this week. S/C attitude pointing continues to alternate between Eros nadir proximity pointing, Earth pointing, and Sun pointing as required to conduct Eros orbital science operations.
NEAR Shoemaker is presently in a 200 km by 209 km orbit around Eros. NEAR Shoemaker will stay in this orbit conducting Science observations until April 2, 2000 when an Orbit Correction Maneuver will place the spacecraft in a 200 km x 100 km transfer orbit.
The March 23 Momentum Control Maneuver (MCM 2) successfully executed, biasing S/C momentum with minimal perturbing effects on the orbit.
The modified Earth Safe Macro, which prevents instruments from being turned off during safing conditions when sufficient power is available, was uplinked to NEAR Shoemaker on March 22 after Brassboard (simulator) testing was completed.
The NEAR Shoemaker software team completed its analysis of the recent Multispectral Imager (MSI) Digital Processing Unit (DPU) anomalies and completed a corrective software patch. The patch was tested with results discussed during a special NEAR Shoemaker Configuration Control Board (CCB) team meeting on March 22. The CCB approved uplink of the software patch. Mission Operations successfully uploaded the MSI DPU patch on March 23rd.
Science activities conducted this week included Eros "high altitude" ~200 Km observations with the MSI, NIS, MAG, NLR and XGRS instruments. Please consult science timelines for more details.
Upcoming Spacecraft Activities:
In addition to regular Eros Science and Optical Navigation, the following are operationally significant activities planned for the NEAR Shoemaker mission operation:
April 2 Eros Orbit Correction Maneuver 3
(200 Km x 100 Km transfer orbit)
April 12 Eros Orbit Correction Maneuver 4
(100 Km orbit circularization)