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GNC Challenges and Opportunities of CubeSat Science Missions Deployed from the Lunar Gateway

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Monday, April 1, 2019

Himangshu Kalita, Miguel Donayre, Victor Padilla, Anthony Riley, Jesse Samitas, Brandon Burnett, Erik Asphaug, Mark Robinson, Jekan Thangavelautham

(Submitted on 31 Mar 2019)

The Lunar Gateway is expected to be positioned on-orbit around the Moon or in a Halo orbit at the L2 Lagrange point. The proposed Lunar Gateway is a game-changer for enabling new, high-priority lunar science utilizing Cu-beSats and presents a refreshing new opportunity for utilization of these small spacecraft as explorers. In context, CubeSats are being stretched to their limits as interplanetary explorers. The main technological hurdles include high-bandwidth communications and reliable high delta-v propulsion. Advances in deep-space attitude determination and control has been made possible from the recent NASA JPL MarCO missions. Due to these limitations, CubeSats are primarily designed to be dropped-off from a larger mission. The limited mass and volume have required compromises of the onboard science instruments, longer wait times to send back science data to Earth, shorter mission durations or higher accepted risk. With the Lunar Gateway being planned to be closer to the Moon, it will provide significant savings for a propulsion system and provide a primary relay for communication apart from the DSN and enable tele-operated command/control. These three factors can simplify the mission enabling routine deployment of CubeSats into lunar orbit and enable surface missions. In this paper, we present preliminary designs of 2 CubeSat lunar landers that will explore the lunar pits, Mare Tranquilitatis and the remnant magnetic fields Reiner Gamma.

Comments: 13 pages, 12 figures, AAS GNC Conference 2019

Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM)

Cite as: arXiv:1904.00497 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:1904.00497v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)

Submission history

From: Jekan Thangavelautham

[v1] Sun, 31 Mar 2019 22:21:54 UTC (1,379 KB)

https://arxiv.org/abs/1904.00497

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