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Autonomous NanoTechnology Swarm (ANTS) Prospecting Asteroid Mission (PAM), Asteroid Proximity OperationsThe Autonomous NanoTechnology Swarm (ANTS) is a generic mission architecture based on spatially distributed spacecraft, autonomous and redundant components, and hierarchical organization. The ANTS Prospecting Asteroid Mission (PAM) is an ANTS application which will nominally use a swarm of 1000 spacecraft. There would be 10 types of "specialists" with common spacecraft buses. There would be 10 subswarms of approximately 100 spacecraft each or approximately 10 of each specialist in each swarm. The ANTS PAM primary objective is the exploration of the asteroid belt in search of resources and material with astrobiologically relevant origins and signatures. The ANTS PAM spacecraft will nominally be released from a station in an Earth-Moon L1 libration point orbit, and they will use Solar sails for propulsion. The sail structure would be highly flexible, capable of changing morphology to change cross-section for capture of sunlight or to form effective "tip vanes" for attitude control. ANTS PAM sails would be capable of full to partial deployment, to change effective sail area and center of pressure, and thus allow attitude control. Results of analysis of a transfer trajectory from Earth to a sample target asteroid will be presented. ANTS PAM will require continuous coverage of different asteroid locations as close as one to two asteroid "diameters" from the surface of the asteroid for periods of science data collection during asteroid proximity operations. Hovering spacecraft could meet the science data collection objectives. The results of hovering analysis will be presented. There are locations for which hovering is not possible, for example on the illuminated side of the asteroid. For cases where hovering is not possible, the results of utilizing asteroid formations to orbit the asteroid and achieve the desired asteroid viewing will be presented for sample asteroids. The ability of ANTS PAM to reduce the area of the solar sail during asteroid proximity operations is critical to the maintenance of orbiting formations for a period of time. Results of analysis of potential "traffic" problems during asteroid proximity operations will be presented.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Marr, Greg
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Cooley, Steve
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Roithmayr, Carlos
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA, United States)
Kay-Bunnell, Linda
(NASA Ames Research Center Moffett Field, CA, United States)
Williams, Trevor
(Cincinnati Univ. OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 21, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2004
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Meeting Information
International Aeronautics Congress(Vancouver, British Columbia)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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