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Hera spacecraft to asteroid Dimorphos [updated]


Waspie_Dwarf

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Instrument to measure asteroid gravity tested for space

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The first instrument to directly measure gravity on the surface of an asteroid has undergone testing in ESA’s Mechanical Systems Laboratory.

The GRASS gravimeter will be landed on the surface of the Dimorphos asteroid aboard the Juventas CubeSat – which will itself be deployed from ESA’s Hera mission for planetary defence – and is designed to measure an expected gravity level of less than a millionth of Earth’s own.

Read More: ESA

 

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Hera’s mini-radar will probe asteroid’s heart

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The smallest radar to fly in space has been delivered to ESA for integration aboard the miniature Juventas CubeSat, part of ESA’s Hera mission for planetary defence. The radar will perform the first radar imaging of an asteroid, peering deep beneath the surface of Dimorphos – the Great Pyramid-sized body whose orbit was shifted last year by the impact of NASA’s DART spacecraft.

“This delivery marks a definite milestone,” comments Alain Hérique of Institut de Planétologie et d'Astrophysique de Grenoble (IPAG) at the University Grenoble Alpes in France, the instrument’s principal investigator.

Read More: ESA

 

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
merging topics - removed related story.
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Hera asteroid spacecraft assembled

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Hera is complete. ESA’s asteroid mission for planetary defence was built and prepared in two halves, but now, through a painstaking operation, they have been mated together to make a single spacecraft, ready for full-scale testing of its readiness for space.

The mating took place at OHB Bremen in Germany, with Hera’s Core Module raised more than 3 m above its Propulsion Module then gradually and carefully slotted into place, over a three-hour period. The modules had been placed in cages to ensure their correct alignment relative to each other down to a few tenths of a millimetre.

Read More: ESA

 

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
merging topics - removed related story.
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  • The title was changed to Hera asteroid spacecraft assembled [updated]

Hera asteroid mission hears the noise

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ESA’s Hera asteroid mission has completed acoustic testing, confirming the spacecraft can withstand the sound of its own lift-off into orbit. Testing took place within the Agency’s Large European Acoustic Facility at the ESTEC Test Centre in the Netherlands. This is Europe’s largest and most powerful sound system, fitted with a quartet of noise horns that can generate more than 154 decibels of extreme noise.

Diego Escorial Olmos, Hera system engineer comments: “Launch will be the single most stressful day of Hera’s life, so we have worked hard to simulate it during our mechanical test phase, first by vibrating the spacecraft on the ESTEC Test Centre’s shaker tables, and now by blasting it with a noise profile sourced from our launch provider, to be as true to life as possible.”

Read More: ➡️ ESA

 

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Hera asteroid mission, shaken not stirred

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How could the Hera mission team become certain their asteroid-explorer spacecraft was robust enough to be flown into space aboard a rocket? They took their spacecraft and shook it bodily, replicating the kind of vibrations it will experience on the day of launch.

The spacecraft is seen here on the Test Centre’s 640kN QUAD shaker, whose metal plate is moved vertically by a quartet of water-cooled electrodynamic shakers.

Read More: ➡️ ESA

 

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  • The title was changed to Hera asteroid spacecraft assembly [updated]
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Shoebox-sized Milani CubeSat joining Hera asteroid mission

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The shoebox-sized Milani CubeSat, which will perform close-up mineral prospecting of the Dimorphos asteroid, is ready for delivery to ESA’s Hera asteroid mission for planetary defence. The spacecraft will carry Milani and a second CubeSat, the Juventas radar imaging spacecraft for probing into the target asteroid, which together will be ESA’s first CubeSats to operate in deep space.

Funded through the Italian Space Agency, ASI, the Milani CubeSat was shown to the press at the premises of its prime contractor Tyvak International in Turin. It will now be flown to ESA’s ESTEC Test Centre in the Netherlands, where Hera is currently undergoing pre-flight testing, for integration with its mothership and subsequent validation of the inter-satellite link system that will connect Hera, Milani and Juventas as they fly around the Didymos system.

Read More: ➡️ ESA

 

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  • The title was changed to ESA's Hera spacecraft to asteroid Dimorphos [updated]
  • The title was changed to Hera spacecraft to asteroid Dimorphos [updated]

Radar journey to centre of Hera’s asteroid with Juventas CubeSat

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A small, shoebox-sized spacecraft delivered to ESA’s Hera mission this week promises to make a giant leap forward in planetary science. Once deployed from the Hera spacecraft at the Didymos binary asteroid system, the Juventas CubeSat perform the first radar probe within an asteroid, peering deep into the heart of the Great-Pyramid-sized Dimorphos moonlet.

“Today’s asteroids are collisional fragments of the original building blocks of our entire Solar System, so being able to see how the interior of an asteroid is structured will give us valuable insights into the evolution of the Solar System, as well as planetary defence,” explains Michael Kueppers, ESA’s Hera project scientist. “Is this asteroid a solid monolith, or a rubble pile held together by its gravity? The answer has practical consequences for how incoming asteroids might be deflected away from Earth in the future.”

Read More: ➡️ ESA

 

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Hera asteroid mission’s side-trip to Mars

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ESA’s Hera asteroid mission for planetary defence will make a swingby of Mars next March, borrowing speed to help reach its target Didymos binary asteroid system.

In the process the spacecraft will venture as near as 6 000 km from the surface of the Red Planet, closer than the orbits of the two martian moons. Its trajectory will be tweaked so that it can train its science instruments onto Mars’s smaller moon Deimos from within 1 000 km away, while also observing Mars itself.

Read More: ➡️ ESA

 

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Virtual flying lessons for Hera asteroid mission

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As ESA’s Hera spacecraft for planetary defence goes through pre-flight testing, the system that will steer it around its target binary asteroid system is also undergoing its final checks for space.

Validation of the mission’s Guidance Navigation and Control system’s readiness for proximity operations within this challenging, ultra-low gravity environment through a long series of virtual manoeuvres, carried out in parallel in Spain and Germany.

Read More: ➡️ ESA

 

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Hera and its CubeSats speak with mission control

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ESA’s Hera asteroid mission and its two CubeSats interacted as if they were in space, within the foam pyramid-lined walls of the Agency’s Maxwell test chamber in the Netherlands. The trio communicated together, sharing data and ranging information at the same time as their Hera mothership received commands from its mission controllers at the European Space Operations Centre in Darmstadt, Germany.

Read More: ➡️ ESA

 

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Posted (edited)

NASA Selects Participating Scientists to Join ESA’s Hera Mission

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NASA has selected 12 participating scientists to join ESA’s (European Space Agency) Hera mission, which is scheduled to launch in October 2024. Hera will study the binary asteroid system Didymos, including the moonlet Dimorphos, which was impacted by NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) spacecraft on Sept. 26, 2022. The objectives of DART and Hera collectively aim to validate the kinetic impact method as a technology to deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth, if one is ever discovered, and to learn more about the near-Earth asteroids that are the source of this natural hazard. 

Read More: ➡️ NASA

 

Edited by Waspie_Dwarf
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Countdown to Hera: launch campaign begins at ESOC

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ESA’s Hera mission is due to launch in October this year on a quest to survey the Didymos binary asteroid system and study the results of the first-ever test of asteroid deflection.

The spacecraft is currently undergoing its final system tests in the Netherlands in preparation for transport to its launch site in the USA. Meanwhile, in Germany, Hera’s Mission Control Team recently began launch preparations of their own.

Read More: ➡️ ESA

 

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Hera in the doghouse

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CREDIT
ESA

Like a pet being put in its kennel, ESA’s Hera asteroid mission for planetary defence was placed back in its transport container for the latest phase in its test campaign.

The spacecraft is not due to leave the ESTEC Test Centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands until the end of August. Instead its container became the venue for Hera’s global leak test, confirming the continued integrity of the spacecraft’s propulsion system following its 10-month long environmental test campaign.

Read More: ➡️ ESA

 

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