Design and Commissioning of Solar Orbiter AOCS (Attitude and Orbit Control System)

Date: 7 October 2021

Time: 18:00

Location: Crowdcast

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Evening Lecture with Emanuela Palombo, FBIS, Functional Support at ESA/ESTEC

ESA Solar Orbiter’s journey around the Sun starts in the early morning of 10th of February 2020 UTC, launched from Cape Canaveral on ATLAS V 411 rocket supplied by NASA, for an unprecedented mission to study our star up-close, reaching a perihelion of 0.28AU and a solar inclination at mission end of 33deg.
During the 10 years mission lifetime, the spacecraft will experience a very wide range of Sun distances; from an aphelion of 1.467 AU during the Cruise phase down to the smallest perihelion distance of 0.28 AU during the Operational phase. The Solar Orbiter AOCS is required to maintain the heatshield accurately pointing at the Sun under any circumstances in order to keep the spacecraft within its thermal limit. In addition, the Solar Orbiter AOCS must accommodate distinct and challenging scientific pointing requirements from the high number and variety of instruments. This talk will presents an overview of the Solar Orbiter AOCS design and its key design drivers as well as the in-flight operations in the first 7 days after launch.


Emanuela Palombo received her MS degree in Astronautical Engineering from Sapienza University of Rome in 2013. She is a GNC/AOCS engineer at the European Space Agency (ESTEC, The Netherlands) since 2016 and she has been the Solar Orbiter AOCS engineer up to completion of Spacecraft commissioning in 2020. Before joining ESA she worked as GNC engineer at MBDA Missile Systems and as System Engineer at Officine Galileo – Space Division.
In addition to Solar Orbiter, Emanuela supported various ESA mission at different development stage within the Telecommunications, Science and Earth Observation directorates as well as many Research & Development activities addressing AOCS algorithms and techniques and Hardware development. She is also a Fellow of the BIS.