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Waspie_Dwarf

Kepler: Recovery Begins

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Kepler Mission Manager Update: Recovery Begins

Over the next week, the team will attempt tests to explore recovery of the spacecraft's reaction wheels. The tests will begin with reaction wheel 4 on Thursday, July 18, 2013.

The team anticipates continuing exploratory tests on reaction wheel 2 on Monday, July 22, 2013 or Thursday, July 25, 2013.

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Kepler Mission Manager Update: Initial Recovery Tests

On Thursday, July 18, 2013 the team initiated exploratory recovery tests on the spacecraft's two failed wheels. The recovery tests are a series of steps to characterize the performance of Reaction Wheels (RW) 4 and 2, and to determine if either could be returned to operation.

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Kepler Mission Manager Update: Pointing Test

The team has continued exploratory recovery testing of Reaction Wheel 4 (RW4). On Thursday, July 25, 2013, the wheel spun in both directions in response to commands.

While both RW4 and RW2 have spun bi-directionally, friction levels remain higher than would be considered good for an operational wheel. However, it will be important to characterize the stability of the friction over time. A constant friction level may be correctable in the spacecraft’s attitude control system, whereas a variable friction level will likely render the wheels unusable.

With the demonstration that both wheels will still move, and the measurement of their friction levels, the functional testing of the reaction wheels is now complete. The next step will be a system-level performance test to see if the wheels can adequately control spacecraft pointing.

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