Nanospacecraft for Technology Demonstration and Science Missions

Kosmosetehnoloogia seminar

Humans have been observing and exploring the cosmos for millennia, yet space missions have enabled in-situ examination only during the last 64 years. Spacecraft enable opportunities unfeasible for ground-based studies, such as landing on other planetary bodies, sample return, close observations of comets and asteroids, and improved observations of galaxies, solar systems, exoplanets etc. Historically, space missions have been operated by large space agencies, but in the last twenty years, the field expanded to small enterprises, universities and practically anyone interested in launching a satellite. This was partially enabled by the standardisation of cubesats, typically 1–10 kg nanosatellites. The author of this dissertation has contributed to the miniaturisation of planetary missions and instruments by developing missions, mission concepts, payloads and simulation tools that commit to the long-term aims of cosmic exploration with nanospacecraft. The first part of the thesis focuses on an innovative technology for space travel – Coulomb Drag Propulsion. It can be utilised to remove space debris from Low Earth Orbit (in a configuration named plasma brake) or travel in space without carrying the propellant from the Earth (named E-sail). This propulsion is accommodated on the ESTCube-2 and FORESAIL-1 satellites, both to be launched soon. The dissertation also analyses the concept of visiting hundreds of asteroids with a fleet of cubesats propelled by E-sails. The second part of the thesis presents an ongoing camera development for the ESA-JAXA Comet Interceptor mission to be launched in 2029 by the Ariane 6 rocket. The camera is equipped with a periscope to protect it from a hazardous environment. It is therefore named Optical Periscopic Imager for Comets or OPIC shortly, also referring to the Estonian astronomer Ernst Öpik, who was the first to propose the existence of a distant comet cloud around the Solar System, known today as the Öpik–Oort cloud. The development of the OPIC instrument is supported by a custom-made open-source simulation tool called SISPO, manifested in the last part.

Meeting ID: 925 4602 3702

Passcode: 180983

Seminaris esinejate kava praeguse seisuga:

  • Nov 10: Mihkel Pajusalu (UT TO) : OPIC instrument
  • Nov 24: Anna Aret (UT TO) : Activities at the Department of Stellar Physics
  • Dec 1 and 8: Project presentations of the space technology course chaired by Joosep Kivastik (UT TO)
  • Dec 15: Aditya Savio Paul (UT Tartu Observatory) : Development of a space simulation environment: motivation and requisites

Seminarid on avalikud, teavituste saamiseks saab ka registreeruda lehel . Teavitame neist ka korra nädalas füüsika instituudi ja Tartu observatooriumi listides. Vaikimisi seminare ei salvestada, et ettekandjad saaks vabamalt rääkida.