2019.A.3.2. BIRDY: an interplanetary CubeSat to Small Solar System Bodies


Daniel Hestroffer (1)
Marco Agnan (2)
Boris Segret (3)
Gary Quinsac (3)

  1. IMCCE/Paris observatory, univ. PSL, France
  2. Odysseus Space Inc., Luxembourg
  3. LESIA/Paris observatory, univ. PSL




CubeSat, interplanetary, small body, asteroid, interior, radio-science, AOCS, propulsion, autonomous navigation


BIRDY is a concept of an interplanetary CubeSat to visit Small Solar System Bodies, and probe their interior. The aim is to derive the size and shape through imaging, and the mass and bulk density of the small body (asteroid, comet, satellite) through radio science experiment, making use of a mothercraft-daughtercraft inter-satellite link. Radio-science is now of common use in planetary science (flybys or orbiters) to derive the mass of the scientific target and higher order terms of its gravity field.

Such CubeSat shows the advantage of having independent, low-velocity, and close-distance fly-bys dedicated to the radio-science experiment. Before the final mission, technological developments performed in the BIRDY-T programme focus on possible radio-science error-budget, AOCS with auto-navigation, and trajectory corrections. We will present the general concept and applications, and the developments of BIRDY-T.


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