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To Fly to the Sun: Solar Probe Mission & Technology Challenges

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4 Author(s)
James Randolph ; Jet Propulsion Lab.-Caltech, Pasadena ; Alexander Eremenko ; Robert Miyake ; Raymond Dirl

To fly close to the Sun (to a perihelion of 4 solar radii) represents many unique challenges to a mission and spacecraft design. The solar probe design is a result of over two decades of studies that have allowed the evolution of both the mission and trajectory design, as well as the spacecraft configurations. During these studies some of the most significant design challenges have been the trajectory design, the spacecraft shield design, the spacecraft configuration, the telecommunications near perihelion, science instrument accommodations, and minimizing mission cost. This latter challenge (minimum cost) permeates all other design issues suggesting specific solutions consistent with this constraint. This presents the evolution and rationale that have taken place to arrive at the current design for this challenging mission.

Published in:

IEEE Aerospace and Electronic Systems Magazine  (Volume:22 ,  Issue: 7 )