NASAs Cassini spacecraft successfully swaps thrustersMarch 13th, 2009 - 1:45 pm ICT by ANI
Washington, March 13 (ANI): The Cassini spacecraft has relayed information that it had successfully swapped to a backup set of propulsion thrusters late on March 11.
The swap was performed because of degradation in the performance of the primary thrusters, which had been in use since Cassinis launch in 1997.
This is only the second time in Cassinis 11 years of flight that the engineering teams have gone to a backup system.
The thrusters are used for making small corrections to the spacecrafts course, for some attitude control functions, and for making angular momentum adjustments in the reaction wheels, which also are used for attitude control.
The redundant set is an identical set of eight thrusters. Almost all Cassini engineering subsystems have redundant backup capability.
Cassini has successfully completed its original four-year planned tour of Saturn and is now in extended mission operations. (ANI)
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Tags: 11 years, angular momentum, attitude control, backup capability, backup set, backup system, cassini spacecraft, control functions, degradation, launch, march 11, mission operations, nasas, propulsion, reaction wheels, saturn, second time, subsystems, swaps