The first orbital control during the final re-entry guidance phase, TCM-1, took place on October 22. TCM stands for “Trajectory Correction Maneuver”.
During this operation, the attitude of the spacecraft was changed to the ΔV (acceleration) attitude and the spacecraft direction was rotated by about 130 degrees. Events such as switching the antenna of spacecraft proceeded in accordance with the attitude change. While checking the SOE (Sequence of Events) list, the people in charge of different areas made sure to talk to one another as the operation continues.
Photographs of the operation: part 1 (image credit: JAXA)
A ΔV timeline command was sent to the spacecraft and the orbit was corrected on schedule using the chemical engine (RCS) at around 18:00 JST. At around 19:00, the acceleration correction (trim ΔV) was then applied as planned.
Photographs of the operation: part 2. Weather information near Usuda
(location of the ground tracking station) is displayed on the central screen (image credit: JAXA).
The orbit control amount by TCM-1 was about 15 cm/s, adjusting the closest altitude to the Earth from about 400 km to about 330 km.
Photographs during the operation: part 3 (image credit: JAXA)
Four further TCMs are planned. The first of these is TCM-2, which will perform a minute orbit correction on November 12. The most important is TCM-3, which puts the spacecraft into a collision orbit with the Earth and will be held in late November. Its correction, TCM-4, will then take place in early December. The re-entry capsule will be separated from the spacecraft from 14:00 – 15:00 JST on December 5. Immediately after this, TCM-5 will be performed and the spacecraft will leave the Earth’s geosphere. The landing of the capsule in Woomera is scheduled for December 6, 02:00 – 03:00 JST.