Van Allen Probes Low Cost Mission Operations Concept and Lessons Learned

Following a successful 60-day commissioning period, NASA\textquoterights Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP) mission, was renamed Van Allen Probes in honor of the discoverer of Earth\textquoterights radiation belts \textendash James Van Allen. The Johns Hopkins University\textquoterights Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) executed the mission and is currently operating the twin spacecraft in their primary mission. Improving on the cost-savings concepts employed by prior APL projects, the Van Allen Probes mission operations was designed from the start for low-cost, highly-automated mission operations. This concept is realized with automated initial planning and contact scheduling, unattended real-time operations, and spacecraft performance assessment from the review of data products that have been automatically generated. This low-cost approach can be accomplished because of a simple spacecraft design and de-coupled spacecraft and instrument operations. This paper will present the Van Allen Probes mission operations concept focusing on the components that keep the cost of operations low and pointing out lessons learned that can be applied to future programs.
Year of Publication
Date Published
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics
Conference Location
San Diego, CAReston, Virginia