Rascal is a two-spacecraft mission designed by St. Louis University to demonstrate key technologies for proximity operations and space situational awareness: infrared imaging, 6DOF propulsion, RF proximity sensing, and automated operations. It consists of two 3U Cubesat spacecraft fastened to a common baseplate; the system launches as a single 6U
After the on-orbit checkout, one 3U spacecraft is released and passively drifts away; both spacecraft will observe the other in visible, IR and RF bands, determining the maximum range for each detection method. After a suitable distance, the released spacecraft will activate its propulsion system and return to within a few meters of the base. The second spacecraft will be released and the process repeated until the end of the mission.
Proximity operations is the ability to safely maneuver around of another, possibly non-cooperative, object - with ranges from hundreds of meters down to meters and even docking. Space situational awareness is the ability to determine the real-time space environment - both natural phenomena (solar wind, local electromagnetic activity, etc.) and artificial objects. Rascal will demonstrate key technologies for these applications using simple, inexpensive spacecraft:
Rascal is an extension of the first two SLU spacecraft; it uses the SCARAB bus and COPPER’s infrared imaging system, augmented with additional sensors.
Rascal was selected in 2013 by NASA to be launched as part of the ELaNa program. It was cancelled in 2017 due to scope and budget creep.
|Type / Application:||Technology|
|Operator:||St. Louis University|
|Contractors:||St. Louis University|
|Configuration:||2 × CubeSat (3U)|
|Power:||Solar cells, batteries|
|Rascal A (SLU 04)||-||cancelled||with Rascal B|
|Rascal B (SLU 04)||-||cancelled||with Rascal A|