The Canadian Space Agency (CSA) announced December 30, 2002 that its engineers have successfully developed procedures, bypassing a defective pitch momentum wheel, to restore precision pointing to Canada’s premier commercial Earth Observation satellite.
The RADARSAT-1 satellite was taken off line on November 27 because a deteriorating Attitude Control System was affecting the satellite’s ability to deliver precise imaging. Engineers of the CSA’s Satellite Operations Directorate developed new pointing procedures that eliminates the pitch momentum wheel, relying instead, on roll and yaw wheels and torque rods to accurately point the spacecraft.
“We are proud to have extended the life of Canada’s renowned RADARSAT-1 spacecraft, developing a unique set of procedures that will allow the satellite to maintain nominal pointing without relying on the pitch momentum wheel,” said Surendra Parashar, Director of Satellite Operations. “The dedicated work of our engineering specialists has restored RADARSAT-1’s imaging capability, allowing it to continue to carry out its important mission, providing images, day or night in all weather conditions to global clients located in more than 60 countries”.
CSA engineers confirm that RADASAT-1 images produced since deployment of the new procedure are comparable to the precise images professionals working in the fields of agriculture, cartography, hydrology, forestry, oceanography, ice reconnaissance, coastal surveillance, geology, environmental monitoring, and disaster relief efforts have come to expect.