SMART-1 factsheet

Testing solar-electric propulsion and other deep-space technologies, and making lunar scientific investigations

Name SMART stands for Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology.

Description SMART-1 is the first of ESA’s Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology. It travelled to the Moon using solar-electric propulsion and carrying a battery of miniaturised instruments.

As well as testing new technology, SMART-1 did the first comprehensive inventory of key chemical elements in the lunar surface. It also investigated the theory that the Moon was formed following the violent collision of a smaller planet with Earth, four and a half thousand million years ago.

Launched 27 September 2003

Status Arrived in lunar orbit, 15 November 2004. After having conducted lunar orbit science operations, its mission ended through lunar impact on 3 September 2006.

Notes SMART-1 was the first European spacecraft to travel to and orbit around the Moon.

This was only the second time that ion propulsion has been used as a mission's primary propulsion system (the first was NASA's Deep Space 1 probe launched in October 1998).

SMART-1 looked for water (in the form of ice) on the Moon.

To save precious xenon fuel, SMART-1 used 'celestial mechanics', that is, techniques such as making use of 'lunar resonances' and fly-bys.

Last update: 26 February 2007

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