2019.A.4.1. ESA’s Hera Cubesats Missions to Asteroid Didymos

Author(s)

Borja GARCÍA GUTIÉRREZ (1)
Paolo Martino (2)
Jan-Erik Wahlund (3)
Tomas Kohout (4)
Hannah Goldberg (5)
Özgür Karatekin (6)
Alain Herique (7)

  1. Telespazio VEGA UK Ltd for the European Space Agency, The Netherlands
  2. European Space Agency, The Netherlands
  3. Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Sweden
  4. University of Helsinki, Finland
  5. GomSpace, Denmark
  6. Royal Observatory of Belgium, Belgium
  7. University Grenoble-Alpes, France

Session

A.3

Keywords

ESA;Hera;IoD;Cubesat;Deep Space;APEX;Juventas;Binary Asteroid;Didymos;AIDA

Abstract

Hera is ESA’s contribution to the international Asteroid Impact and Deflection Assessment (AIDA) mission, the first planetary defense mission to validate an asteroid deflection technique called “kinetic impactor”. ESA provides a spacecraft to characterise the binary near-Earth asteroid (65803) Didymos and, more specifically, the changes consequence of the impact by the NASA provided spacecraft DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) on the secondary asteroid of the Didymos system.

Hera, as an interdisciplinary mission of opportunity, will contribute as well a number of scientific objectives and serve as in-orbit demonstration platform for new technologies and operation concepts paving the way to future innovative deep-space missions.

The Hera spacecraft, in particular, will carry two 6U cubesats to be deployed on the surroundings of the Didymos system. They will feature cold gas propulsion systems to reach their different operational orbits and eventually perform controlled landings on the surface of the secondary asteroid as part of their disposal strategy. To achieve this, considerable autonomous Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) capabilities will be required on-board.

Both cubesats shall support in-orbit demonstration of spacecraft-relayed operations in deep-space as nodes of a network interconnected by means of an Inter Satellite Link (ISL) communication and ranging system. The ranging capabilities will add up to other navigation means such as optical cameras, laser altimeters, accelerometers, etc. depending on each cubesat design.

The APEX cubesat is a proposal lead by the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF) carrying three dedicated payloads: an Asteroid Spectral Imager (ASPECT), an Asteroid composition Analyser (ACA) and a Magnetometer (MAG). The cubesat will contribute to the asteroid research and mitigation assessment objectives of the Hera mission, as well as perform complementary measurements of the asteroids interior structure, gravity field, composition, weathering, and thermal characteristics.

The Juventas cubesat is a proposal lead by GomSpace carrying two dedicated payloads: a Low Frequency Radar and a 3-axis Gravimeter, and using the ISL system to perform radio science experiments. The cubesat will contribute to the asteroid research and mitigation assessment objectives of the Hera mission, as well as perform complementary measurements of the asteroids interior structure, gravity field, surface properties, and dynamical properties.

Presentation

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