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A first look at the guidance and control system for the Solar Probe Plus mission

AuthorVaughan, Robin; Shapiro, Hongxing; Wirzburger, John;
KeywordsAttitude control; Conceptual design; Control systems; Solar cell arrays; Parker Engineering
The Solar Probe Plus mission plans to send a spacecraft to explore the inner region of the heliosphere and is currently working towards launch in 2018. Protection from the harsh solar environment is accomplished with a large thermal protection system (TPS), which includes a large shield protecting most spacecraft components and instruments from direct exposure to the Sun. Reliable attitude control is needed to keep the TPS shield between the main body of the spacecraft and the Sun for solar distances between 0.7 AU and 0.046 AU (9.86 solar radii). Proper orientation of the actively-cooled solar arrays relative to the Sun is also essential for a successful mission. This paper summarizes the conceptual design of a guidance and control system that will meet the unique needs and constraints of this mission. The overall system uses a closed-loop, 3-axis stabilized architecture. Hardware components and software functions selected to implement the necessary attitude and array control functions are described. The initial set of performance requirements for attitude knowledge, attitude control, and maneuver execution accuracy are presented.
Year of Publication2013
JournalAIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control (GNC) Conference
Number of PagesDraper Laboratory -
Date Published