Masterpieces of miniaturisation
The SMART-1 spacecraft spans 14 metres with its solar panels extended, but otherwise everything for propulsion, communications, housekeeping and instrumentation fits into a cube just 1 metre across.
Propulsion by an ion engine is not the only innovative technology on SMART-1. Its solar panels use an advanced type of gallium-arsenide solar cells in preference to the traditional silicon cells. And it is testing new communications and navigational techniques.
|“ Building a spacecraft for ESA means fitting together many pieces coming from different countries. Luckily the cross-border teamwork is magnificent.”
Peter Rathsman, Swedish Space Corporation, Prime Contractor for SMART-1
SMART-1 mission overview
|Purpose||Flight testing electric propulsion and other deep-space technologies, while performing scientific observations of the Moon.|
|Spacecraft||One cubic metre, 370 kilograms. Solar panels span 14 metres when deployed and provide 1.9 kWatts of power.|
|Scientific payload||19 kilograms|
|Launch||August 2003 from Kourou, French Guiana on a shared Ariane-5 ride to geostationary-transfer orbit (GTO).|
|Orbit||16-month transfer orbit from GTO to lunar orbit insertion, then polar elliptical operational orbit, ranging from 300 to 10 000 kilometres in altitude above the Moon.|
|Ground stations||ESA network stations around the world, operating 8 hours twice a week.|
|Mission lifetime||2 – 2.5 years|
|Prime contractor||Swedish Space Corporation, Solna, Sweden|