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Formulation of discovery-class mission concepts

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3 Author(s)
B. Clark ; Lockheed Martin Space Syst., Denver, CO, USA ; C. Faulconer ; T. Gamber

A key feature of the NASA discovery programs is the strategy of allowing a single scientist with a "good idea" to form his/her own team of scientists and engineers to generate a concept which is credible and attractive to a complete body of independent peers. The principle investigator (PI) must accept responsibility for all aspects of the mission. A wide variety of mission types have been found to fit the discovery mold, including fly-bys, orbiters, landers and even sample return missions. To enhance this fit, it has been necessary for scientists and engineers to work closely in: evaluating spacecraft risks, setting data throughput requirements and methods of their amelioration, focusing on key objectives, and deriving strict instrument and experiment requirements from overall goals and engineering realities. Discovery is loaded with challenges, but likewise, represents the most promising opportunities for affordable, frequent scientific advances in planetary exploration.

Published in:

IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine  (Volume:21 ,  Issue: 4 )