Context. To meet the scientific objectives of the mission, the Solar Orbiter spacecraft carries a suite of in-situ (IS) and remote sensing (RS) instruments designed for joint operations with inter-instrument communication capabilities. Indeed, previous missions have shown that the Sun (imaged by the RS instruments) and the heliosphere (mainly sampled by the IS instruments) should be considered as an integrated system rather than separate entities. Many of the advances expected from Solar Orbiter rely on this synergistic approach between IS and RS measurements.
Aims: Many aspects of hardware development, integration, testing, and operations are common to two or more RS instruments. In this paper, we describe the coordination effort initiated from the early mission phases by the Remote Sensing Working Group. We review the scientific goals and challenges, and give an overview of the technical solutions devised to successfully operate these instruments together.
Methods: A major constraint for the RS instruments is the limited telemetry (TM) bandwidth of the Solar Orbiter deep-space mission compared to missions in Earth orbit. Hence, many of the strategies developed to maximise the scientific return from these instruments revolve around the optimisation of TM usage, relying for example on onboard autonomy for data processing, compression, and selection for downlink. The planning process itself has been optimised to alleviate the dynamic nature of the targets, and an inter-instrument communication scheme has been implemented which can be used to autonomously alter the observing modes. We also outline the plans for in-flight cross-calibration, which will be essential to the joint data reduction and analysis.
Results: The RS instrument package on Solar Orbiter will carry out comprehensive measurements from the solar interior to the inner heliosphere. Thanks to the close coordination between the instrument teams and the European Space Agency, several challenges specific to the RS suite were identified and addressed in a timely manner.