Preliminary Lander CubeSat Design for Small Asteroid Detumbling Mission
Abstract: Asteroid mining is expected to become reality in the near future. The first step is to redirect an asteroid to a stable Earth orbit so that mining technologies can be demonstrated. Detumbling of the asteroid is one of the important steps in asteroid redirection missions. In this thesis, a preliminary lander CubeSat design is suggested for a small asteroid detumbling mission. The candidate asteroid for the detumbling mission is chosen to be 2014 UR, an Arjunatype asteroid with an estimated diameter ranging from 10.6 to 21.2 m. Due to the small size of the asteroid, the landing must be performed with an active control method after which the spacecraft must be firmly anchored to the asteroid. By using the multi-criteria decision making method PROMETHEE, the microspine gripper is chosen as the most suitable anchoring mechanism. Three main mission drivers are identified during the design process: data-flow between the lander and the mothership, Delta-V budget and pointing accuracy. The Delta-V required for landing on the asteroid and despinning it is estimated to be 10 m/s and 0.15 m/s at most, respectively. The uncertainty with the despinning Delta-V is due to varying estimates of the size of the asteroid. The required minimum pointing accuracy is estimated to be 6 degrees. The preliminary lander CubeSat design can be largely realised with commercial off-the-shelf components suggested in this work. Only some of the components have to be custom built or the technologies further developed. It is shown that a CubeSat lander is not able to detumble an asteroid that is rotating fast around multiple axes. However, if the considered asteroid is rotating around a single axis with a rotational period of 2.4 hours, it is be possible to despin it by spending just 1.5 kg of propellant. The suggested lander is a 12U CubeSat with an overall mass of 15 kg and power consumption of 65 W.
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