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USER INTERFACE DEVELOPMENT FOR THE PLATO SCIENTIFIC SATELLITE ATTITUDE CONTROL SYSTEM SIMULATOR

Grant number: 23/10763-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2023
Effective date (End): August 31, 2024
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Aerospace Engineering - Aerospace Systems
Principal Investigator:Eduardo Janot Pacheco
Grantee:Lucas Wu Jiajun
Host Institution: Instituto de Astronomia, Geofísica e Ciências Atmosféricas (IAG). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Paulo , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:16/13750-6 - Brazil in space: Astrophysics and Engineering, AP.ESP

Abstract

PLATO (Planetary Transits and Oscillations of Stars) is a European space scientific mission with Brazilian participation, dedicated to the search for terrestrial exoplanets in the habitable zone of solar-type stars. It is conducted by the European Space Agency (ESA), and the launch is scheduled for 2026.The main flight product of PLATO consists of light curves, which represent the temporal evolution of stellar flux observed by the satellite. The photometric method used for in-flight calculation of light curves is the fixed-aperture photometry. This method is based on determining digital photometric masks on the ground for each observed star and their subsequent programming into the scientific flight software.The goal is to maximize the signal-to-noise ratio of light curves while minimizing the detection of false positives, namely, transits that are not of planetary origin. To achieve this, it takes into account instrumental noise related to the Charge-Coupled Device (CCD) detector, intra-pixel behavior concerning the point spread function, environmental noises like zodiacal light and satellite pointing noise, known as jitter.This jitter-induced noise, known as photometric jitter noise, cannot be entirely eliminated by the masks. It results in the loss of light flux due to misalignment of the masks relative to the observed stars. A compensation method based on algorithms developed for the CoRoT satellite (CNES) has been devised for PLATO. This method expands the scope of instrumental aspects considered in the solution, even extending to the Attitude Control System of the satellite, responsible for precisely maintaining the scientific cameras pointed at the stellar fields (with an error of about 0.1 arcseconds rms).For the proper implementation of the method, a simulator of the Attitude Control System in scientific observation mode is required. This simulator is being developed within the scope of the Thematic project dedicated to PLATO.It is within this context that the current scientific initiation project is being carried out, with the objectives of developing a user-friendly graphical interface and integrating it with the Attitude Control System simulator of the PLATO mission. The aim of this work is to enable non-experts in control to use the simulator within the mission's scientific consortium and to support the development of various instrumental correction algorithms for the mission.

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