Sunday, February 13, 2011
While checking out rocketry images, I came across the above white-hot combustion chamber and nozzle. This turns out to be one small part, a thruster, from this proposed space mission:
"PRISMA is a Swedish-led technology mission to demonstrate formation flying and rendezvous technologies (in-orbit servicing), designed and developed by SSC (Swedish Space Corporation). The mission concept employs the small-satellite philosophy to demonstrate the functionality of a wide range of newly developed formation flying, proximity ranging and propulsion techniques with future use in a wide range of missions. The project is funded by the Swedish National Space Board (SNSB) with SSC as the prime contractor. Further project participants/contributors are: DLR (German Aerospace Center), the Technical University of Denmark (DTU), CNES, the French Space Agency, and Alcatel.
The main goals are to perform GNC (Guidance, Navigation and Control) demonstrations and sensor technology experiments for a family of future missions where rendezvous and formation flying are a necessary prerequisite.
• The GNC demonstrations are: 1) Autonomous formation flying, 2) homing and rendezvous, 3) proximity operations or RV (Rendezvous) tests, including final approach and recede operations.
• The sensor technology tests are: GPS-based navigation (evaluation of real-time differential GPS used for autonomous formation flying), RF metrology, and a star tracker-based vision sensor to evaluate multi-range tracking.
Mission concept: The mission consists of two spacecraft, one advanced and highly maneuverable one, called MAIN, and a smaller S/C without a maneuvering capability, called TARGET. The latter one simply follows the trajectory into which it is injected by the launch system. The MAIN spacecraft has full translational capability, and will perform a series of maneuvers around the TARGET, on both close and long range approach, using the different sensors provided. Both S/C will be delivered into the same orbit. In most cases, the MAIN will fly along-track with respect to the TARGET, such that the MAIN can "look" at the TARGET.
As of 2007, the project is in Phase C (implementation phase), having completed the Preliminary Design Review in late 2005."
This mission was to test out many technologies that will then be used on more expensive missions.
Here is an update on the mission:
"Prisma is a satellite project led by the Swedish Space Corporation (SSC) which consist of two satellites that fly in formation. It was launched, along with the PICARD spacecraft, on 15 June 2010 on a Dnepr-1 launcher from Dombarovskiy Cosmodrome, near Yasny, Russia. Its primary objective is to test autonomous formation flying. On 12 August 2010, SSC reported that the two satellites, called Mango and Tango, had separated from each other for the first time."
PRISMA Main page