China’s Mars probe Tianwen-1 Requires Major Course Correction
China’s last Manual probe was a total failure. Now it’s second Manual probe Tianwen-1 had to fire its engine in deep space for a major course-correction maneuver on Friday, China National Space Administration told the Global Times.
The operation had to be undertaken when Tianwen-1 had just travelled 29.4 million kilometers from Earth. More maneuvers will have to be be done before it reaches Mars.
Cui Xiaofeng from the Beijing Aerospace Control Center told the Global Times that Friday’s operation required the most control inputs so far during Tianwen-1’s journey to Mars.
The course corrections are required when things do not go as per initial calculations. There fore corrections have to be done to directly and accurately aim Tianwen-1 toward Mars, and lays the foundation for “braking” the rover when it approaches Mars. Two or three additional course corrections may have to be made before Tianwen-1 makes its rendezvous with the red planet after flying hundreds of millions of kilometers.
Rao Wei, product manager of the Mars rover products from China Academy of Space Technology, said this is the third time that Tianwen-1 has fired its engine to correct its course. During the previous maneuvers the engine ignition lasted just 10 seconds. During Friday’s operation the engine fired for more than eight minutes.
Due to the long distance and data processing, now it takes several minutes for the mission control on Earth to learn about the state of Tianwen-1.