Mission analysis of near earth asteroid exploration by miniature asteroid interceptors

Yasuhiro Kawakatsu, Osamu Mori, Yuichi Tsuda, Kota Tarao, Jun'ichiro Kawaguchi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Discussed in this paper are the results of the mission analysis of near Earth asteroid flyby missions using miniature Asteroid Interceptors. The Interceptor is an autonomous self-contained interplanetary probe with 10kg mass which is now under development in ISAS/JAXA. It has the capability of navigating itself autonomously to flyby the target asteroid using optical navigation system. The image of the asteroid taken by the camera onboard at the closest approach is the main science output of the mission. Firstly discussed is the mission by a single Interceptor, which enables the minimum size interplanetary mission. The interceptor is launched as a piggy back mission on a geostationary mission, separated on a geostationary transfer orbit (GTO), kicked by a solid rocket motor, and injected into an orbit suitable for encountering the asteroid. It is shown that the utilization of the Earth synchronous orbit and the Earth swing-by drastically increase the number of the possible target asteroids, which enables the selection of more scientifically interesting target for a given opportunity. The second mission concept discussed is the multiple asteroids exploration with a single launch. A straightforward application of the single Interceptor mission, that is, the mission by several independent Interceptors is shown firstly, and an option to overcome the difficulty in performing critical operation of multiple spacecrafts simultaneously is also discussed. The list of the target asteroid candidates, detailed mission sequence and maneuver parameters are shown for the assumed example mission.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpaceflight Mechanics 2006 - Proceedings of the AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechnaics Meeting
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2006
Externally publishedYes
EventSpaceflight Mechanics 2006 - AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechnaics Meeting - Tampa, FL, United States
Duration: 2006 Jan 222006 Jan 26

Publication series

NameAdvances in the Astronautical Sciences
Volume124 II
ISSN (Print)0065-3438


ConferenceSpaceflight Mechanics 2006 - AAS/AIAA Space Flight Mechnaics Meeting
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityTampa, FL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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