Skip to Main Content
In 2007 a JPL rapid mission architecture (RMA) analysis team identified and evaluated a broad set of mission architecture options for a suite of scientific exploration objectives targeting the Saturnian moon Enceladus. Primary science objectives were largely focused on examination of the driving mechanisms and extent of interactions by the plumes of Enceladus recently discovered by Cassini mission science teams. Investigation of the architectural trade space spanned a wide range of options, from high-energy flybys of Enceladus as a re-instrumented expansion on the Cassini mission, to more complex, multi-element combinations of Enceladus orbiters carrying multiple variants of in-situ deployable systems. Trajectory design emerged as a critical element of the mission concepts, enabling challenging missions on Atlas V and Delta IV-Heavy class launch vehicles. Various Enceladus Flagship-class mission concepts identified were analyzed and compared against several first-order figures of merit, including mass, cost, risk, mission timeline, and associated science value with respect to accomplishment of the full set of science objectives. Results are presented for these comparative analyses and the characterization of the explored trade space.