Spacecraft

The AIM spacecraft is based on a very simple design with fixed solar arrays and a fixed high-gain antenna. During launch the spacecraft will be stowed away in the Ariane 6 launcher vehicle.

After separation from the upper stage a straightforward deployment of the solar array will occur. The solar array will be oriented towards Earth/Sun during the mission and the optical communication system will be inside the spacecraft with an opening in the front panel to have a clear view of Earth.

The spacecraft will be carrying a variety of instruments (see instruments), and will be supplemented with a small MASCOT-2 lander (MASCOT-1 is currently journeying aboard JAXA’s Hayabusa-2 mission headed for near-Earth asteroid JU3), under development by the German aerospace centre (DLR). Two or more Cubesats, miniature satellites that can carry out observations or tasks that may be too dangerous for the main spacecraft, are also foreseen to accompany the main AIM spacecraft.

Spacecraft specifications

The baseline propulsion system uses a bi-propellant (MMH/MON) fuel with 24 thrusters each capable of producing 10 N of thrust.

A separate Helium tank would keep the four 60 L propellant tanks pressurized. Power is generated by two deployable, fixed solar arrays with an output of 165 W each at a distance of 2.2 AU from the Sun, and a total panel surface of 5.6 m². The total spacecraft dry mass would be about 420 kg and the propellant mass about 292 kg.

AIM spacecraft Facts & Figures

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