Mission design of SmallSat deep-space exploration

Performed at JAXA Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS)

Left: EQUULEUS, right: PROCYON (Image credits: JAXA)

This project is focused on the mission design of SmallSat-based deep-space exploration missions at JAXA, including Equilibrium Lunar-Earth point 6U Spacecraft (EQUULEUS) and Proximate Object Close Flyby with Optical Navigation (PROCYON). EQUULEUS is a CubeSat mission to explore cislunar space, to be launched onboard NASA's Artemis I. For EQUULEUS, our work leverages the multi-body dynamical structure in cislunar space to efficiently design low-energy transfers with multiple lunar flybys to an Earth-Moon libration point in an ephemeris model. We also developed a systematic approach to design many number (> 13,000) of quasi-halo science orbits and to assess their station-keeping cost, which contributed to the complex mission design in the cislunar multi-body regime with constrained launch conditions. PROCYON is a 50-kg class SmallSat launched together with Hayabusa2 in 2014. For PROCYON, we developed flight GNC software of the spacecraft that demonstrated the deep-space exploration capability as a SmallSat for the first time.