Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Cubesat Asteroid Mission: Propulsion Trade-offs

A Cubesat Asteroid Mission: Propulsion Trade-offs
NASA NTRS, 6 February 2015

A conceptual design was performed for a 6-U cubesat for a technology demonstration to be launched on the NASA Space Launch System (SLS) test launch EM-1, to be launched into a free-return translunar trajectory. The mission purpose was to demonstrate use of electric propulsion systems on a small satellite platform. The candidate objective chosen was a mission to visit a Near-Earth asteroid. Both asteroid fly-by and asteroid rendezvous missions were analyzed. Propulsion systems analyzed included cold-gas thruster systems, Hall and ion thrusters, incorporating either Xenon or Iodine propellant, and an electrospray thruster. The mission takes advantage of the ability of the SLS launch to place it into an initial trajectory of C3=0.

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