Evaluation of mother-daughter architectures for asteroid belt exploration

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

4 Scopus citations


This paper examines the effectiveness of an asteroid exploration architecture comprised of multiple nanosatellite sized spacecraft deployed from a single mother ship into a heliocentric orbit in the main asteroid belt where the mothership is ideally located in region of high density. Basic mission requirements associated with a Mother-Daughter architecture are established utilizing a relatively large number (10-20) daughter spacecraft distributed from a mothership within the asteroid belt for the purpose of executing sample and return missions. A number of trade analyses are performed to establish system performance to changes in initial orbit, delta-V capability and maximum small spacecraft flight time. The balance between the initial delta-V burn and asteroid velocity matching are also examined, with a goal of minimizing the amount of fuel needed in the small spacecraft. Preliminary requirements for the system are established using these results, and a conceptual design is presented for comparison to other asteroid exploration techniques. Preliminary results indicate that the aforementioned concept of a mothership with small spacecraft is viable and should be considered as an alternative approach to first order surveying of the asteroid belt.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA Scitech 2019 Forum
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624105784
StatePublished - 2019
EventAIAA Scitech Forum, 2019 - San Diego, United States
Duration: Jan 7 2019Jan 11 2019

Publication series

NameAIAA Scitech 2019 Forum


ConferenceAIAA Scitech Forum, 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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