Nature of and lessons learned from Lunar Ice Cube and the first deep space CubeSat 'Cluster'

Pamela E. Clark, Robert MacDowall, Benjamin Malphrus, Cliff Brambora, Dave Folta, William Farrell, Allen W. Lunsford, Matthew D. Grubb, Terry Hurford, Charles D. Norton, Thomas S. Pagano
2018 CubeSats and NanoSats for Remote Sensing II  
Cubesats operating in deep space face challenges Earth-orbiting cubesats do not. 15 deep space cubesat 'prototypes' will be launched over the next two years including the two MarCO cubesats, the 2018 demonstration of dual communication system at Mars, and the 13 diverse cubesats being deployed from the SLS EM1 mission within the next two years. Three of the EM1 cubesat missions, including the first deep space cubesat 'cluster', will be lunar orbiters with remote sensing instruments for lunar
more » ... face/regolith measurements. These include: Lunar Ice Cube, with its 1-4 micron broadband IR spectrometer, BIRCHES, to determine volatile distribution as a function of time of day; Lunar Flashlight, to confirm the presence of surface ice at the lunar poles, utilizing an active source (laser), and looking for absorption features in the returning signal; and LunaH-Map to characterize ice at or below the surface at the poles with a compact neutron spectrometer. In addition, the BIRCHES instrument on Lunar Ice Cube will provide the first demonstration of a microcryocooler (AIM/IRIS) in deep space. Although not originally required to do so, all will be delivering science data to the Planetary Data System, the first formal archiving effort for cubesats. 4 of the 20 recently NASA-sponsored (PSDS3) study groups for deep space cubesat/smallsat mission concepts were lunar mission concepts, most involving 12U cubesats. NASA SIMPLEX 2/SALMON 3 AO will create ongoing opportunities for low-cost missions as 'rides' on government space program or private sector vehicles as these become available.
doi:10.1117/12.2320055 fatcat:tr4juubtjvelbdn5poncqwwh2y