2018.A.4.3. SUPER-SHARPi: A meter class Interplanetary CubeSat Imaging Platform for Astronomy, Space and Planetary Science


Ian Parry (1)
Michael Johnson (1)
George Hawker (1)

  1. University of Cambridge, United Kingdom




CubeSat telescope


With missions such as EM-1 and InSight preparing to deploy interplanetary CubeSats to the Moon and Mars, and studies of mission concepts for such spacecraft at asteroids and Europa, the time has come for a generic high-resolution survey orbiter interplanetary CubeSat platform that could be flown as standard with such missions. SUPER-SHARPi (Space-based Unfolding Primary for Exploration and Research via Spectroscopic High Angular Resolution Photography – interplanetary-CubeSat) is 1.2m space telescope packaged within a standards compliant solar powered rad-hard 3U CubeSat platform, capable of capturing ground images with 30cm resolution from 400km. Other formats could permit apertures of 2m or more.

The spacecraft is built around a SUPER-SHARP self-aligning mirror sub-system (designed to be available as an off-the-shelf drop-in subsystem for other applications), with modular avionics and sensors that can be used as is or substituted with custom end-user components as missions require. A prototype is currently being assembled, with flight hardware for an on-orbit demonstration to follow shortly.

Applications might include an orbiter for Europa, performing imaging flybys of multiple near-earth asteroids, fly-through/impactor probes for ring studies, or any application that needs Hubble class imaging in a CubeSat package.


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