Welcome to the web site of Victoria Roloff
University of Bern
Space Research and Planetology
Office: 210 (Gesellschaftsstrasse 6)
Direct tel.: +41 (0) 31 631 48 56
E-mail: victoria.roloff (at) space.unibe.ch
I am a PhD student of Nicolas Thomas in the Planetary Imaging Group, working on the Colour and Stereo Surface Imaging System (CaSSIS). I am a member of the hardware development team, and an operator of CaSSIS. I also participate in the ExoMars Science Working Team, ExoMars Science Operations Working Group, and ExoMars Data Handling and Archiving Working Group meetings.
The main topics of my work on CaSSIS have so far included:
- On-ground calibration (V. Roloff et al. 2017)
- In-flight calibration and first in-orbit observations
- Flight software testing and verification
- Uplink and downlink operations
- And more recently I am working on investigation of my chosen martian science topic, based on a comparison of CaSSIS images with HiRISE colour images.
As well as the Physics Institute of the University of Bern, I am also affiliated with, and funded by, the NCCR PlanetS. I work in the remote sensing of planets (Project 4), but I am also exposed to the study of the origin, evolution, and characterisation of planets and exoplanets. This gives me full visibility across many planetary science fields, and leads to a hugely enriched working environment.
CaSSIS is part of the scientific instrument payload for ESA's ExoMars Trace Gas Orbiter (TGO), and is the orbiter's high-resolution imager. Along with the Entry, descent and landing Demonstrator Module (EDM, aka. Schiaparelli), the TGO was launched on 14th March 2016 from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. On 19th October, the TGO successfully completed a 139-minute engine burn, slowing its velocity and direction by more than 1.5 km/s, resulting in its capture by the Red Planet. The TGO was then in a 101000 km x 3691 km orbit around Mars, with an ~4-sol orbital period, and an angle of travel with respect to the equator of 7°.
A series of calibration campaigns and spacecraft maneouvres followed:
- From 20-26 November 2016, CaSSIS was switched-on for the first Mars Capture Orbit (MCO-1) calibration and test-science campaign.
- In January 2017 the apoapsis reduction and inclination change maneouvres, to the nominal inclination angle of 74°, were performed. These left the TGO in a ~1-sol orbit.
- On the 5th March 2017, CaSSIS switched on once more for MCO-2.
- On 15 March 2017, the ~13-month long period of aerobraking began, and this will bring the TGO into a near-circular, 74°-inclined orbit, (the nominal "science-ready" primary science phase is currently slated to begin ~April 2018). NB: aerobraking was interrupted for a short while during solar conjunction.