8-10 October 2019
Europe/Amsterdam timezone

The Application of a Thermal Mathematical Model during Lander Operations on the surfaces of Small Bodies

9 Oct 2019, 15:30
Newton 2 ()

Newton 2

thermal analysis and software tools Small Satellites and CubeSats / Analysis


Mr Michael Maibaum (German Aerospace Center)


Landing on small bodies like asteroids and comets is an extreme challenging operation. The unknown thermal and physical properties of the surface after a multi-annual journey in deep space require a high degree of flexibility for operations planning and execution during the landing and consecutive on-surface mission phases.
The presentation describes the planning and analysis loop used to establish and execute the operations for two of these landers, the comet lander Philae on 67P/Churyumov–Gerasimenko and the asteroid lander Mascot on Ryugu, by the DLR Lander Control Centre in Cologne in collaboration with the other mission partners.
This planning and analysis loop, focusing on power and thermal aspects, is mainly built by the Thermal Mathematical Model (TMM) of the respective lander interacting with an Operations Planning Tool, which e.g. translates the planned operation in dissipation profiles for all relevant nodes of the TMM. Moreover as one of the reason for thermal analysis during operation is the life extension of the batteries, the TMM is prepared with a detailed electrical and thermal model for the batteries and their management and, in case of Philae, it is also interacting with a Solar Array Illumination and Power Prediction tool.
In addition, to plan long-term surface operations, the TMM needs to include a dedicated and flexibly adaptable comet or asteroid surface model because, as especially seen during the post-landing operations of Philae, the impact factor of the real environmental conditions found after landing is considerable.
On the other hand the TMM needs to support its alternating application between moving and resting on-surface configurations as required by Mascot, the Mobile Asteroid Surface Scout.
The presentation shows details of the necessary TMM preparation in order to optimize its application during real-time operation.

Primary authors

Mr Michael Maibaum (German Aerospace Center) Mrs Barbara Cozzoni (German Aerospace Center)

Presentation Materials