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Overview of the Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) Formulation Assessment and Support Team (FAST)

Author: 
Daniel Mazanek
Topic: 
Missions (Including Commercial)
Delivered As: 
Oral
Abstract Text: 

NASA’s Asteroid Redirect Mission (ARM) is a capability demonstration mission that combines robotic and crewed segments to develop, test, and utilize a number of key capabilities that will be needed for future exploration of Mars and other Solar System destinations, and provides other broader benefits as well. ARM consists of two mission segments: 1) the Asteroid Redirect Robotic Mission (ARRM), the first robotic mission to visit a large (greater than ~100 m diameter) near-Earth asteroid (NEA) and collect a multi-ton boulder and regolith samples from its surface, demonstrate a planetary defense technique known as the Enhanced Gravity Tractor (EGT), and return the asteroi-dal material to a stable orbit around the Moon; and 2) the Asteroid Redirect Crewed Mission (ARCM), in which astronauts will take the Orion capsule to rendezvous and dock with the robotic vehicle, conduct multiple extrave-hicular activities to explore the boulder, and return to Earth with samples. NASA’s proposed ARM concept would leverage several key ongo¬ing activities in human exploration, space technology, and planetary defense. The ARRM is planned to launch at the end of 2021, which would likely place the ARCM in 2026.

The Formulation Assessment and Support Team (FAST) for the ARM was a two-month effort, chartered by NASA, to provide timely inputs for mission requirement formulation in support of the ARRM Requirements Closure Tech-nical Interchange Meeting (TIM) held December 15-16, 2015. Additionally, the FAST was tasked with developing an initial list of potential mission investigations and providing input on potential hosted payloads and partnerships. The FAST explored several aspects of potential science benefits and knowledge gain from the ARM. Expertise from the science, engineering, and technology communities was represented in exploring lines of inquiry related to key characteristics of the ARRM reference target asteroid (2008 EV5) for engineering design purposes. Specific areas of interest included target origin, spatial distribution and size of boulders, surface geotechnical properties, boulder physical properties, and considerations for boulder handling, crew safety, and containment. In order to increase knowledge gain potential from the mission, opportunities for partnerships and accompanying payloads that could be provided by domestic and international partners were also investigated. The ARM FAST final report was publicly released on February 18, 2016 and represents the FAST’s final product. The report and associated public comments are being used to support mission requirements formulation and serve as an initial inquiry to the science and engi-neering communities relating to the characteristics of the ARRM reference target asteroid. This report also provides a suggested list of potential investigations sorted and grouped based on their likely benefit to ARM and potential relevance to NASA science and exploration goals. These potential investigations could be conducted to reduce mis-sion risks and increase knowledge return in the areas of science, planetary defense, asteroid resources and in-situ resource utilization (ISRU), and capability and technology demonstrations. This summary presentation will provide an overview of the FAST’s effort and associated final report.

Co-Authors: 
Hervé Stevenin (ESA, EAC)
SSERVI Identifier: 
NESF2016-088

About SSERVI
Recognizing that science and human exploration are mutually enabling, NASA created the Solar System Exploration Research Virtual Institute (SSERVI) to address basic and applied scientific questions fundamental to understanding the Moon, Near Earth Asteroids, the Martian moons Phobos and Deimos, and the near space environments of these target bodies. As a virtual institute, SSERVI funds investigators at a broad range of domestic institutions, bringing them together along with international partners via virtual technology to enable new scientific efforts."