System design of LUMIO: A CubeSat at Earth-Moon L2 for observing lunar meteoroid impacts

P. Sundaramoorthy, F. Topputo, M. Massari, J. Biggs, P. Di Lizia, D. A. Dei Tos, K. Mani, S. Ceccherini, V. Franzese, A. Cervone, S. Speretta, S. Mestry, R. Noomen, A. Ivanov, D. Labate, A. Jochemsen, R. Furfaro, V. Reddy, K. Jacquinot, R. WalkerJ. Vennekens, A. Cipriano, S. Pepper, M. Van De Poel

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


The Earth-Moon system is constantly being bombarded by a significant number of meteoroids with different sizes and velocities. Observation of the lunar surface impacts will enable characterization of the lunar meteoroid flux, which is similar to that of the Earth, and provide more detailed information on meteoroid size, velocity, temporal and spatial distribution. The Lunar Meteoroid Impacts Observer (LUMIO) is a CubeSat mission at Earth-Moon L2 to observe, quantify, and characterise these meteoroid impacts by detecting their flashes on the lunar farside. LUMIO is one of the two winners of ESA's LUCE (Lunar CubeSat for Exploration) SysNova competition, and as such is being considered by ESA for implementation in the near future. This paper will present the design of the LUMIO spacecraft that will host the payload to capture the meteoroid flashes. Key system specifications, tradeoffs and consequent design iterations are presented. The final design yields a feasible spacecraft budget and a configuration that enables the LUMIO mission to be realized by 2023. The spacecraft is a 12U form-factor CubeSat, with a mass of less than 22 kg. A zero-redundancy and COTS based approach has been adopted for the spacecraft design. A strong emphasis has been placed on realizing high onboard autonomy. A novel and autonomous navigation strategy that uses optical observations of the Earth and the Moon is proposed for navigation around the Moon and beyond. The payload and navigation are the key drivers of the pointing requirements. Pointing requirements are achieved through reaction wheels, IMUs, star trackers, and fine sun sensors. A hybrid micro-propulsion system is included for orbital control, de-tumbling, and reaction wheel desaturation. Steady solar power availability is ensured with a one-axis solar array drive assembly in combination with an innovative attitude algorithm. Communication with Earth is through the Lunar Orbiter with a low-bandwidth UHF link, which places high constraints on the data throughput. An onboard payload data processor has been designed that compresses the science data to a fraction of the raw data with no loss of information. The paper will conclude with the key findings of a concurrent design review of the LUMIO spacecraft design that was performed at ESA/ESTEC's Concurrent Design Facility (CDF). The major design changes are outlined along with a summary and discussion of the iterated design.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
StatePublished - 2018
Event69th International Astronautical Congress: #InvolvingEveryone, IAC 2018 - Bremen, Germany
Duration: Oct 1 2018Oct 5 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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