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Space Blog

Near Earth Objects study begins with Deimos

SSTL has just signed up to an interesting study under ESA's Project for On-Board Autonomy (Proba) with Spanish company Deimos. The PROBA-IP study will investigate a mission to perform in-orbit validation of technologies required to reduce the operations costs of Solar System exploration missions and to enable Near Earth Object (NEO) characterisation missions.
Near Earth Object
Near-Earth Objects (NEOs) are comets and asteroids that have orbits that allow them to come into close proximity with the Earth. They are mostly composed of water ice embedded with dust particles. They attract some scientific interest because they have remained relatively unchanged since the formation of the solar system 4.6 billion years ago. The PROBA-IP mission concept is also intended to demonstrate micro and mini-spacecraft capabilities in the interplanetary mission domain. This is already an area of focus within SSTL because of its involvement with low cost lunar exploration under the NASA / MSU Magnolia mission experiments. The study is led by Deimos, whilst SSTL is investigating the platform design and the spacecraft Failure, Detection, Isolation and Recovery (FDIR) concept. FDIR is an increasingly important part of small satellite design because functionality previously implemented in hardware is often replaced by on-board software. Fail-safe and fail-over systems and FDIR are an essential part of modern small satellite design. Satellite failure, no matter what architecture is always a risk in space missions - particularly in the unknown environments that could be encountered during interplanetary exploration and the risk must be managed. During the study with Deimos, SSTL will draw upon its 27 mission heritage in developing and defining software architectures that support FDIR functions to guarantee dependable and autonomous systems in space that are suitable for interplanetary exploration.





26 August 20080 Comments1 Comment

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