2015.A.1.2. NanoSWARM: a big CubeSat mission


Jordi Puig-Suari (1)
Ian Garrick-Bethell (2)
Steve Warwick (3)
Ehson Mosleh (1)

  1. Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems, USA
  2. University of California Santa Cruz, USA
  3. Northrop Grumman, USA




Lunar Exploration


The NanoSWARM lunar mission was proposed as part of NASA’s latest Discovery call for proposals. The mission is trying to provide a better understanding of magnetic anomalies near the surface of the Moon and determine how they interact with the solar wind. Given the risk associated with measurements very near the surface of the Moon, it is not feasible to fly a large (expensive) spacecraft through the anomalies. The solution proposed by the NanoSWARM team is to combine a lunar mothership with a large number of instrumented CubeSats. The mothership will orbit the moon and release the CubeSats at appropriate times to perform the desired measurements. After release the CubeSats maneuver into impact trajectories at the desired measurement sites. This approach will provide the most accurate measurements of these magnetic anomalies to date.

NanoSWARM is an example of large/small vehicle collaboration to accomplish a mission that cannot be completed by either spacecraft type alone. The authors believe that this collaborative approach will benefit many interplanetary missions and will open up new scientific exploration opportunities throughout the Solar System.


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