NEA Scout: NASA’s New Spacecraft

NASA has announced that its new spacecraft, NEA Scout, has successfully undergone all the required tests and has now been safely tucked inside the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket.

About NEA Scout

NEA Scout is among one of several payloads that will hitch a ride on Artemis I, which is expected to be launched in November. Near-Earth Asteroid Scout (NEA Scout) is a small spacecraft which is not bigger than a big shoebox. NEA Scout’s primary mission is to collect data from a near-Earth asteroid. This will be America’s first interplanetary mission that will be using special solar sail propulsion. This spacecraft has been made using stainless steel alloy booms and will deploy an aluminium-coated sail which is of 925 square feet. This spacecraft will take around two years to reach the targeted asteroid and will nearly 93 million miles away from the Earth during its encounter with the asteroid.

 

How will NEA Scout study the asteroid?

The spacecraft is equipped with high-grade scientific special cameras that can take pictures from ranges of 10 cm/pixels to 50 cm/pixels. Post taking the images it can also process them and reduce their file sizes before using its medium-gain antenna to send them to the earth-based Deep Space Network.

 

Artemis programme

Artemis I is a crew-less test flight of the SLS rocket and Orion spacecraft. Under NASA’s Artemis programme, the space agency has aimed to land the first woman on the Moon in the year 2024 and also to establish sustainable lunar exploration programs by the year 2030.

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