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Status of CHIPS: A NASA University Explorer astronomy mission

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4 Author(s)
Marchant, W. ; Space Sci. Lab., Univ. of California, Berkeley, UK ; Hurwitz, M. ; Sholl, M. ; Taylor, E.R.

In the age of "Faster, Better, Cheaper", NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center has been looking for a way to implement university based world class science missions for significantly less money. The University Explorer (UNEX) program is the result. UNEX missions are designed for rapid turnaround with fixed budgets in the $10 million US dollar range. The CHIPS project was selected in 1998. The CHIPS mission has passed the Confirmation Review in August 2000 and held a Design Verification Review in April 2001. Many lessons have already been learned from the CHIPS UNEX project. This paper will discuss the early issues surrounding the use of commercial satellite constellations as the bus and the politics of small satellites using foreign launchers. The difficulties of finding a spacecraft in the UNEX price range will be highlighted. The advantages of utilizing Internet technologies from the earliest phases of the project through to communications with the spacecraft on orbit will be discussed. The current state of the program will be summarized and the project's plans for the future will be charted.

Published in:

Aerospace Conference Proceedings, 2002. IEEE  (Volume:7 )

Date of Conference:

2002