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Asteroid Return Mission Feasibility Study

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dc.contributor.author Brophy, John R.
dc.contributor.author Gershman, Robert
dc.contributor.author Landau, Damon
dc.contributor.author Polk, James
dc.contributor.author Porter, Chris
dc.contributor.author Yeomans, Don
dc.contributor.author Allen, Carlton
dc.contributor.author Williams, Willie
dc.contributor.author Asphaug, Erik
dc.date.accessioned 2013-10-17T21:04:53Z
dc.date.available 2013-10-17T21:04:53Z
dc.date.issued 2011-08-01
dc.identifier.citation 47th AIAA/ASME//SAE/ASEE Joint Propulsion Conference & Exhibit, San Diego, California, July 31 - August 3, 2011 en_US
dc.identifier.clearanceno 11-2709
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/2014/43897
dc.description.abstract This paper describes an investigation into the technological feasibility of finding, characterizing, robotically capturing, and returning an entire Near-Earth Asteroid (NEA) to the International Space Station (ISS) for scientific investigation, evaluation of its resource potential, determination of its internal structure and other aspects important for planetary defense activities, and to serve as a testbed for human operations in the vicinity of an asteroid. Reasonable projections suggest that several dozen candidates NEAs in the size range of interest (~2-m diameter) will be known before the end of the decade from which a suitable target could be selected. The conceptual mission objective is to return a ~10,000-kg asteroid to the ISS in a total flight time of approximately 5 years using a single Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle. Preliminary calculations indicate that this could be accomplished using a solar electric propulsion (SEP) system with high-power Hall thrusters and a maximum power into the propulsion system of approximately 40 kW. The SEP system would be used to provide all of the post-launch ΔV. The asteroid would have an unrestricted Earth return Planetary Protection categorization, and would be curated at the ISS where numerous scientific and resource utilization experiments would be conducted. Asteroid material brought to the ground would be curated at the NASA Johnson Space Center. This preliminary study identified several areas where additional work is required, but no show stoppers were identified for the approach that would return an entire 10,000-kg asteroid to the ISS in a mission that could be launched by the end of this decade. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship NASA/JPL en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Pasadena, CA : Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2011. en_US
dc.subject near Earth asteriods (NEA) en_US
dc.subject asteriod return en_US
dc.subject ion propulsion en_US
dc.subject solar electric propulsion (SEP) en_US
dc.title Asteroid Return Mission Feasibility Study en_US
dc.type Preprint en_US


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