GMV to carry out the development phase of the GNC system to guide the HERA mission
by Staff Writers
Madrid, Spain (SPX) Sep 30, 2020
On 15 September, the European Space Agency (ESA) signed with the German company OHB the 129.4-million euro contract covering the detailed design, manufacturing, and testing of the HERA mission. This mission, ESA's first ever planetary defense mission, will be Europe's contribution to an international asteroid deflection effort carried out jointly with NASA and due for lift-off in October 2024.
The contract takes in the complete design of the interplanetary probe, integration and tests, including an advanced Guidance, Navigation and Control (GNC) system that has been awarded to the technology multinational GMV as subcontractor of OHB.
The mission's prime objective is to develop planetary defense technology. NASA will be sending a first spacecraft called DART to a near-Earth binary asteroid system called Didymos, comprising a main, mountain-sized, 780-meter diameter asteroid called Didymain orbited by a small 160-meter asteroid called Dimorphos, about the size of the Guiza pyramid. DART will make a kinetic impact against Dimorphos in September 2022, altering its orbit around Didymain.
This secondary asteroid will be the first ever celestial body to have its physical and orbital features altered intentionally by human intervention. The European HERA mission will reach Didymos in late 2026 to study the effect of the DART impact and make a precise assessment of how much Dimorphos's trajectory has been altered. The idea is to glean from this an understanding of how an asteroid on collision course with the Earth might be deviated in the future. The HERA mission will be controlled from the European Space Operations Centre (ESOC), based in Darmstadt, Germany.
HERA has also been designed to carry out a months-long study of the binary system, thereby becoming the first ever interplanetary mission to rendezvous with a near-Earth binary asteroid system. During this research period various scientific instruments carried onboard HERA will collect data and help improving our asteroid knowledge and give us priceless insights into how the Earth might be protected from any potential asteroid impact.
GMV's role in the HERA mission
Asteroid approach and rendezvous operations are extremely demanding tasks. Their small size and mass, together with their irregular shapes and the unknown environment of deep space are all factors that make it very difficult to ensure safe control of spacecraft around asteroids. To cope with all these challenges GMV has developed an autonomous GNC system, providing this additional safety to guarantee mission success.
HERA, demonstrating groundbreaking autonomous asteroid-orbiting technology in an analogous way to driverless cars on Earth, will gather crucial information to help scientists and future mission planners gain a much better understanding of the composition and structure of asteroids.
The GNC system developed by GMV for HERA autonomously runs the flight plan defined by human controllers on Earth, incrementally stepping up its autonomy level until it is calculating on board the maneuvers for flying at a certain altitude or executing an escape maneuver in case of potential collision risk. Both of these features are fundamental innovations of HERA's GNC.
The tests to certify the technological readiness of GMV's autonomous GNC system were carried out using a camera designed to work in space and a scale model of the Didymain-Dimorphos binary asteroid system. To ensure these tests were as realistic as possible, the deep space darkness conditions in which HERA will be working have been reproduced on ground.
The April 2020 ground validation tests of the GNC system were first conducted in GMV's optical laboratory and afterwards in GMV's robotic laboratory called [email protected] in Tres Cantos, Madrid, one of Europe's most advanced robotic testbeds for validating GNC systems.
NASA's OSIRIS-REx Begins its Countdown to TAG
Tucson AZ (SPX) Sep 29, 2020
A historic moment is on the horizon for NASA's OSIRIS-REx mission. In just a few weeks, the robotic OSIRIS-REx spacecraft will descend to asteroid Bennu's boulder-strewn surface, touch down for a few seconds and collect a sample of the asteroid's rocks and dust - marking the first time NASA has grabbed pieces of an asteroid, which will be returned to Earth for study. On Oct. 20, the mission will perform the first attempt of its Touch-And-Go (TAG) sample collection event. This series of maneuvers w ... read more
|The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2020 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.|