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SBIR/STTR

A Comet Surface Sample Return System, Phase II

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

The proposed Phase II investigation will focus on the development of spacecraft systems required to obtain a sample from the nucleus of a comet, hermetically seal the sample within a capsule, and return the sealed sample to an orbiting spacecraft which can return the sample to Earth. A systems level concept for the Comet Surface Sample Return Probe has been developed in Phase I. This concept will be refined during the proposed Phase II investigation, including high fidelity prototypes and analyses of critical subsystems. These high fidelity prototypes will include the sample acquisition and handling subsystem, a hermetically sealed sample return canister, and a full scale mockup of the Comet Surface Sample Return Probe. Orbital mechanics calculations were completed in Phase I based on simplified geometry assumptions of the comets shape and density in order to determine the feasibility of orbiting, impacting and ascending from the comets surface with a small scale spacecraft. During Phase II, these analyses will be refined to include uneven geometry and inconsistent density. More »

Anticipated Benefits

Primary U.S. Work Locations and Key Partners

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Project Duration

Technology Maturity (TRL)

Technology Areas

A final report document may be available for this project. If you would like to request it, please contact us.

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