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The JMAPS (Joint Milli-Arcsecond Pathfinder Survey) was a Department of the Navy (DoN) space astrometry mission, approved for flight, with a 2015 launch date. JMAPS was an all-sky, bright-star astrometric and spectrophotometric survey. The primary goal of the mission was to completely update the bright star catalogs currently used by Department of Defense (DoD), NASA and civilian sensors for purposes of attitude determination. Secondary goals included the development and flight of cutting-edge hardware that would benefit future attitude sensing and imaging applications. In addition, the instrumentation developed to collect stellar catalog data was also to demonstrate unprecedented attitude determination capabilities, useful to future advanced applications.

JMAPS was under development, with the program office at the Office of Naval Research (ONR), the Principal Investigator and ground data processing activity at the US Naval Observatory (USNO), and the space, downlink and mission operations, and launch segment activity at the Naval Research Laboratory (NRL). The concept was of a single aperture instrument hosted on a microsat spacecraft bus. The instrument is similar in concept and size to a star tracker, but with significantly higher accuracy.

The instrument was to observe the sky in a step-stare mode, spending approximately thirty seconds (includes integration, slew and settle) on each star field. Target stars within the magnitude range of 0.5—14 were to be observed 50 to 75 times over the course of three years. These data were to be returned to the ground, where they are processed together with instrument state parameters, thereby yielding a “global solution” for each star; i.e., a solution for the five primary astrometric parameters (position in Right Ascension [RA] and declination [DEC], proper motion in RA and DEC, and parallax). The baseline orbit for the satellite was a 900 km Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO).

JMAPS was cancelled in mid 2012.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Astrometry
Operator: USNO
Contractors: AeroAstro, Ball
Configuration: Astro-200AS
Power: 4 deployable fixed solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime: 3 year
Mass: < 200 kg
Orbit: 900 km SSO
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
JMAPS - cancelled EELV with ?