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26 October 2018 Nature of and lessons learned from Lunar Ice Cube and the first deep space cubesat 'cluster'
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Abstract
Cubesats operating in deep space face challenges Earth-orbiting cubesats do not. 15 deep space cubesat 'prototypes' will be launched over the next two years including the two MarCO cubesats, the 2018 demonstration of dual communication system at Mars, and the 13 diverse cubesats being deployed from the SLS EM1 mission within the next two years. Three of the EM1 cubesat missions, including the first deep space cubesat 'cluster', will be lunar orbiters with remote sensing instruments for lunar surface/regolith measurements. These include: Lunar Ice Cube, with its 1-4 micron broadband IR spectrometer, BIRCHES, to determine volatile distribution as a function of time of day; Lunar Flashlight, to confirm the presence of surface ice at the lunar poles, utilizing an active source (laser), and looking for absorption features in the returning signal; and LunaH-Map to characterize ice at or below the surface at the poles with a compact neutron spectrometer. In addition, the BIRCHES instrument on Lunar Ice Cube will provide the first demonstration of a microcryocooler (AIM/IRIS) in deep space. Although not originally required to do so, all will be delivering science data to the Planetary Data System, the first formal archiving effort for cubesats. 4 of the 20 recently NASA-sponsored (PSDS3) study groups for deep space cubesat/smallsat mission concepts were lunar mission concepts, most involving 12U cubesats. NASA SIMPLEX 2/SALMON 3 AO will create ongoing opportunities for low-cost missions as 'rides' on government space program or private sector vehicles as these become available.
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© (2018) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Pamela Clark, Robert MacDowall, William Farrell, Cliff Brambora, Al Lunsford, Terry Hurford, David Folta, Benjamin Malphrus, Matt Grubb, Sarah Wilzcewski, and Emily Bujold "Nature of and lessons learned from Lunar Ice Cube and the first deep space cubesat 'cluster'", Proc. SPIE 10769, CubeSats and NanoSats for Remote Sensing II, 107690G (26 October 2018); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2320055
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