Important missions for space exploration are imposed on 10 microsatellites that “share” on the lunar exploration mission “Artemis 1” |

The sail is thinner than aluminum foil and coated with highly reflective aluminum. It’s like food wrap, but it’s not sticky, says Johnson.

The “sail” of this satellite does not receive the wind like a ship on the sea, but converts light into propulsion. When light reflects off the sail, a small amount of energy is transferred, which is converted into energy that propels the sail and spacecraft.

The launch of a satellite with a solar sail also has technology demonstration implications for JPL. It’s trying to show the potential of a propulsion system that can fly small probes not too far from the sun without running out of fuel.

The solar sail satellite follows two probes that flew outside Earth’s orbit. Japan’s Small Solar Power Sail Demonstrator Headed to Venus in 2010“IKAROS”And “Light Sail 2” launched by the Planetary Society in 2019.

Plans to photograph asteroids in two years

Around September 20, 2024, about two years after the start of the flight, NEA Scout will catch up with the asteroid it will study, dubbed 2020 GE. The asteroid is about 15 to 50 feet in size, making it the smallest asteroid ever explored by a spacecraft.

NEA Scout slows down a bit when it comes within 60 miles of the spinning asteroid. It will then fly close to the asteroid at about 45 miles per hour (about 72 kilometers per hour), taking images over the course of several hours.

After that, the spacecraft will move as the 2020 GE orbit progresses, returning to near Earth. Four days after the asteroid encounters NEA Scout, it is calculated that the asteroid will pass close to the Earth. The asteroid passes about 410,000 miles (660,000 km) from Earth, a safe distance equivalent to about 70% of the distance from Earth to the Moon.

The NEA Scout was the first CubeSat that NASA chose to carpool SLS in 2013. The team originally planned to fly a spacecraft to scout asteroids that could be explored by future manned missions, explains Castillo-Royès of the NEA Scout research team.

No such missions are currently planned, but NASA and other space agencies have been planning and launching robotic asteroid probes into space for years. Eventually, private space companies may also try to mine asteroids for useful minerals. The asteroid 2020GE is also relevant to defense efforts that monitor celestial bodies near Earth.

The asteroid studied by NEA Scout is comparable in size to the impactor that exploded in Chelyabinsk, Russia, in 2013 while it was still falling to Earth.2020GE, on the other hand, is a NASA probe that aims to collide with an asteroid and change its orbit.“Dart (Double Asteroid Redirection Test, DART)”much smaller than potentially dangerous space rocks that are targeted by Dart is scheduled to launch in November 2021 and collide with its target asteroid in late September or early October 2022.

An important mission for a piggybacking satellite

NEA Scout will now head into space with other CubeSats. These are sometimes called secondary payloads (devices such as satellites that piggyback on rockets).

One of the ride-sharing CubeSats is a yeast-laden biosensor.Effects of cosmic radiation on organismsNASA’s BioSentinel, which measures the The Italian Space Agency’s ArgoMoon will photograph the lunar surface after taking pictures of the second stage of the SLS rocket. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)’s “OMOTENASHI” deploys airbags and gently crashes (landing) on ​​the moon at a speed of 110 km / h to verify “semi-hard landing” landing technology.

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