1 September 2017 Optimization of high-inclination orbits using planetary flybys for a zodiacal light-imaging mission
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Abstract
The zodiacal light caused by interplanetary dust grains is the second-most luminous source in the solar system. The dust grains coalesce into structures reminiscent of early solar system formation; their composition has been predicted through simulations and some edge-on observations but better data is required to validate them. Scattered light from these dust grains presents challenges to exoplanet imaging missions: resolution of their stellar environment is hindered by exozodiacal emissions and therefore sets the size and scope of these imaging missions. Understanding the composition of this interplanetary dust in our solar system requires an imaging mission from a vantage point above the ecliptic plane. The high surface brightness of the zodiacal light requires only a small aperture with moderate sensitivity; therefore a 3cm camera is enough to meet the science goals of the mission at an orbital height of 0.1AU above the ecliptic. A 6U CubeSat is the target mass for this mission which will be a secondary payload detaching from an existing interplanetary mission. Planetary flybys are utilized to produce most of the plane change Δv; deep space corrective maneuvers are implemented to optimize each planetary flyby. We developed an algorithm which determines the minimum Δv required to place the CubeSat on a transfer orbit to a planet’s sphere of influence and maximizes the resultant orbital height with respect to the ecliptic plane. The satellite could reach an orbital height of 0.22 AU with an Earth gravity assist in late 2024 by boarding the Europa Clipper mission.
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Gabriel Soto, Gabriel Soto, James Lloyd, James Lloyd, Dmitry Savransky, Dmitry Savransky, Keith Grogan, Keith Grogan, Amlan Sinha, Amlan Sinha, } "Optimization of high-inclination orbits using planetary flybys for a zodiacal light-imaging mission", Proc. SPIE 10400, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VIII, 104001X (1 September 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2274069; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2274069
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