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NASA Innovative Advanced Concepts

Triton Hopper: Exploring Neptune's Captured Kuiper Belt Object

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

Triton Hopper: Exploring Neptune's Captured Kuiper Belt Object

Phase II for the Triton Hopper will focus on retiring the risks identified in Phase I and providing better detail and alternate conceptual options. The three main risks to be addressed include Triton hopper mission, propellant collection, and propulsion performance. For the Triton mission both delivery to Triton in a timely manner ~ 15 yrs and safe takeoff and landing of the hopper on the Triton terrain will be explored. For propellant collection a bevameter experiment will be performed on a small sample of frozen nitrogen to assess ways to best gather the frozen nitrogen propellant. For the propulsion performance ways will be explored to heat the propellant to higher temperatures and or to reduce dry mass to enable further hops. Using these three products two Compass concurrent engineering runs will be performed; the first of which focusses on integrating the findings of mission/propellant collection and the second on integrating the findings which increase hop distance. Phase II will end with roadmapping technology development solutions as well as using such techniques for other icy worlds to gather propellants for hopping.

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Technology Maturity (TRL)

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