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INSPIRE A, B

INSPIRE [NASA]

The INSPIRE (Interplanetary NanoSpacecraft Pathfinder In a Relevant Environment) mission is a two satellite mission to demonstrate the usefulness of cubesats for functionality, communication, navigation and payload hosting in interplanetary space.

INSPIRE is a NASA JPL partnership with the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Cal Poly San Luis Obispo; and the University of Texas at Austin, in collaboration with Goldstone-Apple Valley Radio Telescope.

The satellites are built to the 3U-CubeSat form factor and feature a cold gas attitude control system. They will be launched piggyback and deployed to an escape trajectory.

The mission objectives are:

  • Demonstrate and characterize key nano-spacecraft telecommunications, navigation, command and data handling, and relay communications for mother-daughter
  • Demonstrate science utility with compact science payload (Helium Magnetometer and combination Star-Tracker/Imager)
  • Demonstrate ability to monitor and power cycle COTS/university processing systems

The objective is to place both nanosatellites into an Earth-escape orbit. The nominal INSPIRE mission will last for three months and will achieve an expected Earth-probe distance of 1.5 × 108 km (depending upon the escape velocity).

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Technology
Operator: Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Contractors: Jet Propulsion Laboratory (prime); Pumpkin (bus)
Equipment:
Configuration: CubeSat (3U)
Propulsion: None
Power: 2 deployable fixed solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime: 3 months
Mass: 3.8 kg
Orbit: Solar orbit
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
INSPIRE A - (via NASA ELaNa program) with ?, INSPIRE B
INSPIRE B - (via NASA ELaNa program) with ?, INSPIRE A