Deep space CubeSats
While in the vicinity of Didymos, Hera will deploy Europe’s first deep-space CubeSats, in order to gather additional data on Didymoon and its surroundings while testing new intersatellite link technology for future mission architectures, based on distributed systems.
Supplied by European companies and research institutes, these CubeSats will be placed into close orbits around Didymoon. Candidate missions are currently under study, to provide complementary observations of such factors as:
- Hyperspectral imaging
- Asteroid deep internal structure
- Relative Radioscience
- Dust environment
These small missions can fly closer to the asteroid and take greater risks than their mothership, to deliver separate but complementary observations. Ultimately, the supporting data they yield will provide a better understanding of the formation and evolution of binary systems and of the solar system in general.
Their deployment and operations will also enable the demonstration of multi-node intersatellite links, also incorporating a ranging capability, between the individual spacecraft.
Last update: 15 June 2018