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Exploration of the near-earth asteroid triple system 2001 SN263 with ALR - the laser rangefinder for the deep space mission ASTER: scientific requirements and operational strategies for the main observational campaign

Grant number: 18/22672-4
Support type:Scholarships abroad - Research
Effective date (Start): May 15, 2019
Effective date (End): November 14, 2019
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Aerospace Engineering - Aerospace Systems
Principal researcher:Antonio Gil Vicente de Brum
Grantee:Antonio Gil Vicente de Brum
Host: Hauke Hussmann
Home Institution: Centro de Engenharia, Modelagem e Ciências Sociais Aplicadas (CECS). Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC). Ministério da Educação (Brasil). Santo André , SP, Brazil
Research place: German Aerospace Center, Germany  


The Brazilian deep space mission ASTER plans to send a small spacecraft to investigate the triple asteroid 2001-SN263, with two launch windows in sight: June, 2022 and June, 2026. Besides the technological motivations, the main scientific goal is the characterization of the triple asteroid 2001-SN263. Within this effort, a preliminary design of a laser altimeter to meet the mission needs was created and presented in 2010-2011 by this author (as leader of the engineering team). The instrument was named ALR (ASTER Laser Rangefinder). Since then, new information on the target asteroid was gathered and many studies to define mission and instruments requirements were conducted. As a result of those studies, important issues concerning the conditions for successful realization of the mission have risen. One of the most important of them involves the determination of a suitable encounter trajectory to be followed by the ASTER spacecraft, enabling the achievement of planned experiments with the expected success, along with the conditions in which the encounter will take place.This research falls directly within this context and with respect to the part of this investigation to be conducted by the ALR instrument during the main observation campaign. Various possibilities for the approach trajectory will be studied, and a group of promising candidate trajectories will be selected for analysis and optimization via detailed modelling and numerical simulation. This will result in improved definition and/or refinement of instrument parameters and requirements. It will also support the definition of scientific and operational mission requirements. Items to assess are the inclination between orbits, relative velocity and distance, the sequence of procedures to follow, pointing conditions, total time of investigation, coverage with altimeter measurements and further operational aspects. The assessment will be done keeping in mind the acquisition of the minimum coverage of asteroid Alpha -the primary asteroid in the triple system- during the main campaign and respecting the requirements on vertical and horizontal accuracy established for the instrument in order for the mission objectives to be attained. Another important expected result, the production of simulation software to support the realization of the desired analysis for use in this and other missions. (AU)

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
DE BRUM, V, ANTONIO G.; HUSSMANN, HAUKE; WICKHUSEN, KAI; STARK, ALEXANDER. Encounter trajectories for deep space mission ASTER to the triple near Earth asteroid 2001-SN263. The laser altimeter (ALR) point of view. Advances in Space Research, v. 67, n. 1, p. 648-661, . (18/22672-4)

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