This paper presents the preliminary mission and science analysis of a new mission concept for the large scale, low-cost exploration of Near Earth Objects (NEOs). The concept is to enable close range observations of NEOs by performing close flybys of a series of NEOs at one of their nodal points, with pairs of small spacecraft flying in formation. The paper presents a preliminary assessment of accessible asteroids and multi-target tour trajectories from data available in the JPL small-body database. The main instruments on board each spacecraft are a camera and a LIDAR which together can be used for orbit determination, sur-face imaging, direct asteroid ranging and asteroid mass estimation via intersatellite ranging. The paper provides a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the measurable quantities during each flyby. In particular, the feasibility of a novel method of NEO mass estimation is assessed.
|Number of pages||29|
|Journal||Advances in Space Research|
|Early online date||19 Nov 2020|
|Publication status||Published - 1 Jun 2021|
- near Earth asteroids
- formation flight