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Proceedings Paper

Overview of Primitive Object Volatile Explorer (PrOVE) CubeSat or Smallsat concept
Author(s): Pamela Clark; Tilak Hewagama; Shahid Aslam; James Bauer; Michael Daly; Lori Feaga; Dave Folta; Nicolas Gorius; Kyle Hughes; Terry Hurford; Donald Jennings; Timothy Livengood; Michael Mumma; Conor Nixon; Jessica Sunshine; Geronimo Villanueva; Kevin Brown; Ben Malphrus; Aaron Zucherman
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Paper Abstract

Here we describe the Primitive Object Volatile Explorer (PrOVE), a smallsat mission concept to study the surface structure and volatile inventory of comets in their perihelion passage phase when volatile activity is near peak. CubeSat infrastructure imposes limits on propulsion systems, which are compounded by sensitivity to the spacecraft disposal state from the launch platform and potential launch delays. We propose circumventing launch platform complications by using waypoints in space to park a deep space SmallSat or CubeSat while awaiting the opportunity to enter a trajectory to flyby a suitable target. In our Planetary Science Deep Space SmallSat Studies (PSDS3) project, we investigated scientific goals, waypoint options, potential concept of operations (ConOps) for periodic and new comets, spacecraft bus infrastructure requirements, launch platforms, and mission operations and phases. Our payload would include two low-risk instruments: a visible image (VisCAM) for 5-10 m resolution surface maps; and a highly versatile multispectral Comet CAMera (ComCAM) will measure 1) H2O, CO2, CO, and organics non-thermal fluorescence signatures in the 2-5 μm MWIR, and 2) 7-10 and 8-14 μm thermal (LWIR) emission. This payload would return unique data not obtainable from ground-based telescopes and complement data from Earth-orbiting observatories. Thus, the PrOVE mission would (1) acquire visible surface maps, (2) investigate chemical heterogeneity of a comet nucleus by quantifying volatile species abundance and changes with solar insolation, (3) map the spatial distribution of volatiles and determine any variations, and (4) determine the frequency and distribution of outbursts.

Paper Details

Date Published: 18 September 2018
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 10769, CubeSats and NanoSats for Remote Sensing II, 107690J (18 September 2018); doi: 10.1117/12.2321264
Show Author Affiliations
Pamela Clark, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Tilak Hewagama, Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)
NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Shahid Aslam, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
James Bauer, Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)
Michael Daly, York Univ. (Canada)
Lori Feaga, Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)
Dave Folta, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Nicolas Gorius, Catholic Univ. of America (United States)
Kyle Hughes, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Terry Hurford, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Donald Jennings, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Timothy Livengood, Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)
NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Michael Mumma, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Conor Nixon, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Jessica Sunshine, Univ. of Maryland, College Park (United States)
Geronimo Villanueva, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Kevin Brown, Morehead State Univ. (United States)
Ben Malphrus, Morehead State Univ. (United States)
Aaron Zucherman, Morehead State Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10769:
CubeSats and NanoSats for Remote Sensing II
Thomas S. Pagano; Charles D. Norton, Editor(s)

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