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R.P. Reinert, R.W. Dissly (Ball Aerospace)
We present the design and describe the capabilities of a Solar Electric Propelled (SEP) microsatellite appropriate for extended NEO exploration. The spacecraft mass is less than 200kg at launch and yet provides almost 12km/s of Delta-V to enable the rendezvous and orbiting of multiple NEO’s. The low spacecraft mass opens the possibility of launch as a secondary payload (e.g., Ariane-5 ASAP) or for multiple spacecraft from a single dedicated launch vehicle (e.g., 4 from a Delta II 2925). This could serve as a powerful tool for NEO exploration and characterization, as up to 16 NEO’s could potentially be characterized with multiple orbits from a single Delta-II launch.
The spacecraft can notionally support a 20kg science payload drawing 100W average during SEP cruise, with over 1kW available to instruments during a NEO orbital phase when the SEP thrusters are not powered. Rendezvous and NEO orbit provide object mass and allow for multiple phase angle imaging. The spacecraft is 3-axis stabilized with better-than 1 milliradian pointing accuracy to serve as an excellent imaging platform, and the telecommunications system can support 6.4kbps for downlink at 3 AU earth range. We will present candidate instrument suites and further discuss the advanced but proven technologies that make this spacecraft design possible.
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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 34, #3< br> © 2002. The American Astronomical Soceity.