|Sentinel Space Telescope|
The B612 Foundation unveiled its plans to build, launch, and operate the first privately funded deep space mission – SENTINEL - a space telescope to be placed in orbit around the Sun, ranging up to 170 million miles from Earth, for a mission of discovery and mapping. The Foundation leadership and technical team include some of the most experienced professionals in the world to lead this effort.
The B612 Foundation is working with Ball Aerospace, Boulder, CO, which has designed and will be building the Sentinel Infrared (IR) Space Telescope with the same expert team that developed the Spitzer and Kepler Space Telescopes. It will take approximately five years to complete development and testing to be ready for launch in 2017-2018. The launch vehicle of choice is the SpaceX Falcon9.
Harold Reitsema, Sentinel Mission Director and former Ball Aerospace Director of Science Mission Development will lead the technical team. "The Sentinel Space Telescope is a space-based Infrared (IR) telescope with a 20-inch diameter mirror that will depart Earth, headed inwards into the Solar System 40 million miles. It will perform what is known as a gravitational slingshot maneuver off the planet Venus to enter its final orbit around the sun. This will provide the optimal vantage point to map the locations and trajectories of Earth-crossing asteroids."
Sentinel will scan the entire night half of the sky every 26 days to identify every moving object with repeated observations in subsequent months. Data collected by Sentinel will be sent back to the Earth via NASA's Deep Space Network, which also will be used for tracking and navigation. Data collected by Sentinel will be transmitted first to the Laboratory for Space Physics, Boulder, Colo., and then distributed to education, research, scientific institutions and governments via NASA's Minor Planet Center, Cambridge, Mass. As part of the B612 Foundation-NASA Space Act Agreement of June 2012, NASA JPL (NEO Center), Pasadena, Calif. will conduct a comprehensive hazard analysis, making orbit determinations and threat assessments. The B612 Foundation aims to build, launch, and operate the world's first privately funded deep space telescope mission to create the first comprehensive dynamic map of our inner solar system, identifying the current and future locations and trajectories of Earth crossing asteroids.
Sentinel to Extend Our Reach by:
• Mapping the inner solar system is the first step to opening up the frontier and protecting the future of humanity on this planet
• Humanity can harness the power of science, technology, and our own ingenuity to change the evolution of our Solar System
• Private organizations can now carry out awe-inspiring and audacious projects that previously only governments could accomplish
The Map of Earth's Neighborhood:
• Earth orbits the Sun among a swarm of asteroids
• Only about 10K of the more than half million asteroids (larger than Tunguska 1908) whose orbits cross Earth's orbit have been discovered and tracked
• The map of the solar system is dynamic – the pieces of territory move according to the laws of orbital mechanics so both velocities and locations must be accurately measured
Opportunity, Risk, and Curiosity:
• Asteroids hit the Earth – dangers are well known but often ignored. Knowing where each asteroid will be decades into the future makes deflection relatively easy.
• Asteroids contain valuable resources
• First step in exploration is to generate an accurate and complete map – we have to know where things are and when they are accessible in order to explore them
Create the First Comprehensive Dynamic Map of the Inner Solar System
• Find and track asteroids that will hit Earth with sufficient warning time (years/decades) to enable deflection missions.
• Demonstrate the power of private organizations to harness Science, Technology, and Human Ingenuity to carry out awe-inspiring projects for global good.
The Sentinel Spacecraft:
Sentinel Mission Overview:
• Will track 90 percent of Earth-orbit-crossing asteroids with impact energy greater than 100 Megatons
• Will give years/decades of notice before impending impacts (sufficient to execute deflection missions)
• Complete survey in 5.5 years – allows asteroid locations to be forecast for >100 years into the future
• Launch in 2016 aboard Falcon 9
• Operations Center at Laboratory for Space Physics (CO)
• Gravity slingshot off Venus to enter solar orbit
• Data relay through NASA Deep Space Network
• Data analysis (identification of threats) through existing data pipeline at the Minor Planet Center (Cambridge MA) and NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
• First privately financed deep-space mission
Sentinel will be deployed into a "Venus-like" orbit around the Sun
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