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Anchoring technology for in situ exploration of small bodies

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2 Author(s)
Steltzner, A.D. ; Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Technol., Pasadena, CA, USA ; Nasif, A.K.

Comets, asteroids and other small bodies found in the solar system do not possess enough gravity to ensure spacecraft contact forces sufficient to allow many types of in situ science, such as core or surface sampling. Some method of providing sufficient contact force must be used for successful in situ exploration. A range of possible anchoring technologies for use with small bodies is discussed and a specific technology developed in greater detail. This anchoring technology is based on a high energy, gas driven telescoping spike that has demonstrated success in anchoring into targets with a wide range of material properties. It is expected to be successful in anchoring to bodies with surface properties that may range in unconfined compressive strengths from 10 kPa to 10 MPa. The physics of the device and the penetration mechanics of the anchoring are discussed. The development of the hardware for NASA's now cancelled ST4/Champollion mission is detailed and finally, results from the test and verification program for the ST4/Champollion spacecraft anchoring mechanism are discussed

Published in:

Aerospace Conference Proceedings, 2000 IEEE  (Volume:7 )

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