Tianwen-1 attitude in Mars orbit

# · 🔥 147 · 💬 21 · 8 days ago · destevez.net · parsecs
Before the first gap, the spacecraft maintains the 0 degree angle it had had since arriving to Mars orbit. The spacecraft then resumes with a -90 degree angle and continues in that attitude. A Sun angle of -90 degrees means that the Sun vector is the -Z vector, so the Sun is roughly in front of the high-gain antenna. Second, as Mars gets closer to solar conjunction, the angle between the Earth and the Sun as seen from the spacecraft decreases. Instead of simply subtracting 90 degrees to the Earth angle, we see that the attitude change has also mirrored the angle along the 0 degrees line. Interestingly, after the attitude change the angle between the Earth vector and the XZ plane has become non-zero, but still small enough to say that the XZ plane almost coincides with the ecliptic. The attitude of the spacecraft tracks the Sun, so we notice that the attitude of the orbiter with respect to the rover keeps changing.
Tianwen-1 attitude in Mars orbit



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