Session

Pre-Conference: CubeSat Developers' Workshop

SSC13-WK-6.pdf (2979 kB)
Presentation Slides

Abstract

ARAPAIMA is a proximity operations mission sponsored by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), to perform the in-orbit demonstration of autonomous proximity operations for visible, infrared, and 3D imaging of resident space objects (RSOs) from a nanosat platform. The nanosat is of the 6U CubeSat class, with overall dimensions of 11x24x37cm, and has been selected as part of AFRL’s University NanoSat Program (UNP) Cycle 8. This paper describes the mission goals, concept of operations, science objectives and subsystem design and selection, with focus given to a detailed mission analysis and the requirements flow-down. The nanosat carries a payload consisting of a FLIR Systems MLR2K laser rangefinder (LRF), a Goodrich Aerospace GA640C IR camera, and a monochrome high resolution camera, all chosen for their small size and relatively low power consumption. ARAPAIMA is equipped with a warm gas propulsion system, enabling it to perform orbital maneuvering and reaction control of attitude. Details on these, as well as the attitude determination and control system (ADCS), communications, electric power, operational modes and power, link, and mass budgets are presented at a Preliminary Design Review (PDR) level of readiness. The complex series of events following the deployment of the nanosat from its launcher is detailed. Deployment of solar panels prior to de-tumble of the nanosat initiates the sequence. After de-tumble, the payload is pointed away from the sun, after which the second set of solar panels, which serve as payload aperture covers, are deployed. Once the system has promoted into an operational mode, it will seek to acquire its spent upper stage and begin executing mission objectives. The coupling between the top level mission requirements and the mission plan is addressed. The flow-down of these requirements to subsystem and component requirements is presented in minute detail. A detailed mission plan is developed to reduce risk and define success criteria for each phase of the mission. Mission objectives will be achieved in steps of increasing complexity. First, ARAPAIMA is commanded by ground control to maneuver to within LRF range of the RSO and acquire a relative orbit. Next, the nanosat will maneuver autonomously to reduce the size of the relative orbit to a distance of 250 meters. The third step will perform visible and IR passive and active imaging of the RSO. The final mission objective will be to close to within 100 meters and evaluate the ability of the nanosat to match attitude and remain in a constant position with respect to the RSO. By demonstrating robust, affordable, and responsive rendezvous of a nanosat with an uncooperative RSO, successful completion of the ARAPAIMA mission will validate a range of technologies for space-based space situational awareness (SSA), debris removal from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and nanosat asteroid characterization. In addition, the mission will validate a set of key technologies at a system level, such as miniaturized commercially available sensors, a miniaturized warm gas propulsion system for CubeSat applications, as well as advanced relative navigation and proximity operations algorithms implemented on a nanosat. Integrated, in-orbit testing of these technologies will advance the technology readiness levels for future space-based SSA missions performed by inexpensive, agile nanosats.

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Aug 10th, 12:15 PM

Application for RSO Automated Proximity Analysis and IMAging (ARAPAIMA): Development of a Nanosat-based Space Situational Awareness Mission

ARAPAIMA is a proximity operations mission sponsored by the US Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) and the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), to perform the in-orbit demonstration of autonomous proximity operations for visible, infrared, and 3D imaging of resident space objects (RSOs) from a nanosat platform. The nanosat is of the 6U CubeSat class, with overall dimensions of 11x24x37cm, and has been selected as part of AFRL’s University NanoSat Program (UNP) Cycle 8. This paper describes the mission goals, concept of operations, science objectives and subsystem design and selection, with focus given to a detailed mission analysis and the requirements flow-down. The nanosat carries a payload consisting of a FLIR Systems MLR2K laser rangefinder (LRF), a Goodrich Aerospace GA640C IR camera, and a monochrome high resolution camera, all chosen for their small size and relatively low power consumption. ARAPAIMA is equipped with a warm gas propulsion system, enabling it to perform orbital maneuvering and reaction control of attitude. Details on these, as well as the attitude determination and control system (ADCS), communications, electric power, operational modes and power, link, and mass budgets are presented at a Preliminary Design Review (PDR) level of readiness. The complex series of events following the deployment of the nanosat from its launcher is detailed. Deployment of solar panels prior to de-tumble of the nanosat initiates the sequence. After de-tumble, the payload is pointed away from the sun, after which the second set of solar panels, which serve as payload aperture covers, are deployed. Once the system has promoted into an operational mode, it will seek to acquire its spent upper stage and begin executing mission objectives. The coupling between the top level mission requirements and the mission plan is addressed. The flow-down of these requirements to subsystem and component requirements is presented in minute detail. A detailed mission plan is developed to reduce risk and define success criteria for each phase of the mission. Mission objectives will be achieved in steps of increasing complexity. First, ARAPAIMA is commanded by ground control to maneuver to within LRF range of the RSO and acquire a relative orbit. Next, the nanosat will maneuver autonomously to reduce the size of the relative orbit to a distance of 250 meters. The third step will perform visible and IR passive and active imaging of the RSO. The final mission objective will be to close to within 100 meters and evaluate the ability of the nanosat to match attitude and remain in a constant position with respect to the RSO. By demonstrating robust, affordable, and responsive rendezvous of a nanosat with an uncooperative RSO, successful completion of the ARAPAIMA mission will validate a range of technologies for space-based space situational awareness (SSA), debris removal from Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and nanosat asteroid characterization. In addition, the mission will validate a set of key technologies at a system level, such as miniaturized commercially available sensors, a miniaturized warm gas propulsion system for CubeSat applications, as well as advanced relative navigation and proximity operations algorithms implemented on a nanosat. Integrated, in-orbit testing of these technologies will advance the technology readiness levels for future space-based SSA missions performed by inexpensive, agile nanosats.