Emxys NAOSat to asteroid mission
Emxys NAOsat Cubesat platform has entered study phase to protect Earth from asteroid impacts.
ESA has selected Emxys NAOsat nanosatellite platform, in the frame of the Asteroid Geological Explorer project, as a candidate for the demonstration payload of the Asteorid Impact Mission that, in cooperation with NASA, plans to rendezvous the asteroid Didymos in 2020 to study Near-Earth Orbit mitigation techniques and understand the Solar System evolution.
While the main mission will study the geophysical properties of Didymos binary asteroid and the momentum transfer of an impacting spacecraft, Emxys nanosatellites are being considered for deploying a telecommunication network that interconnects several sensors intended to perform seismography measurements to characterise the asteroid interior structure. While travelling to the vicinity of the asteroid on board a European Space Agency spacecraft, the nanosatellites are planned to be released to freely perform its scientific and technical objectives that include the landing on the asteroid surface.
ESA’s Asteroid Impact Mission is an European joint initiative with NASA to investigate the composition and physical properties of Near Earth Objects in order to protect the Earth of future collisions by diverting potentially dangerous asteroids. NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test will impact a very high velocity probe into the smaller component of the Didymos double asteroid with the purpose of measuring the modification of its orbit.
Near Earth Asteroids are a focus of recent interest due to the potential danger of a collision with Earth in the mid-term future. Several devastating collisions are known to have occurred in the past such as the one that flattened 2000 km2 at the Tunguska River in Siberia 107 years ago and the one thought to have produced the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. Though big events are rare and occur from time to time, small meteorites, such as the one that felt in Chelyabinsk (Russia) on February 15th 2013, are not unusual and may produce injures to people and extensive damage to buildings and properties.
The mission study for the Asteroid Geological Explorer project is led by the Royal Observatory of Belgium and is participated by ISAE-SUPAERO (France), Antwerp Space (Belgium), Asteroid Innitiatives LLC (USA) and EMXYS.
NAOSat is a modular satellite architecture intended for science experiments and technology demonstrators that provides a compact payload bus rack with its respective controller board to accommodate a number of payload elements in several payload Slots, which consists on a connection to the rack and a payload accommodation card connected to the bus backbone.
The European Space Agency (ESA)is an international organisation with 22 Member States. By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, it can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.