Re: fix a leak in helium tank?
Slight disconnect, think reg meant workaround;
Paolo Ferri, head of the planetary missions division at ESA’s Esoc space operations center in Darmstadt, Germany, said Rosetta operations teams have the luxury of the 2.5-year hibernation to develop software to operate the satellite with three and, if necessary, just two reaction wheels.
“Obviously if we had to operate the satellite and work around this problem at the same time, we would have a more serious situation,” Ferri said in an interview. “The hibernation period means we do not have to rush to a solution.”
The propulsion problem aboard Rosetta is in the form of a leak in a helium-pressurization system that enables the propellant reservoir to direct fuel to the probe’s on-board thruster engines.
Ferri said ESA had planned to repressurize Rosetta for future operations, allowing the satellite to maximize fuel efficiency. They have now decided against that because of the risk of aggravating the leak. The resulting operations will mean Rosetta will use more fuel than it would otherwise and will fly a less-efficient route. But Ferri said the consensus is that it will still have enough fuel to complete its comet rendezvous in mid-2014.