2019.A.1.1. ESA Roadmap on Interplanetary CubeSats


Roger Walker (1)

  1. ESA, The Netherlands




mission studies, technology developments, projects, Moon, asteroids


Numerous studies have been performed at ESA on lunar and interplanetary CubeSat mission concepts in recent years. Based on these studies, a technology development roadmap has been formulated in order to mature the technology readiness level of the critical technologies enabling both mother-daughter and stand-alone system architectures. All of the planned technology development activities have now been funded and initiated or ongoing in ESA’s Technology Programme. In parallel, Phase A feasibility studies have been initiated for the two CubeSats (APEX, Juventas) to be embarked on the proposed Hera planetary defence mission to rendezvous with the Didymos asteroid, and for the stand-alone Miniaturised Asteroid Remote Geophysical Observer (M-ARGO) deep space CubeSat demonstrator mission to rendezvous with an asteroid for in-situ resource exploration. Additionally, it is foreseen to embark two CubeSats on the Lunar Pathfinder mission to lunar orbit, and the related mission concept studies for the two CubeSats (VMMO, LUMIO) have been completed. The paper will provide an overview of the ESA studies, technology development activities and projects related to lunar and interplanetary CubeSats, as well as an outlook for the future.


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