Small-sat platforms and formation flying: An opportunity for the gamma ray telescope MAX
This paper presents the results of a study performed by EADS Astrium in support to the Centre d’Etude Spatiale des Rayonnements (CESR, Toulouse) for the preliminary definition of the MAX space segment, based on a small-sat platform in the 200 kg range. MAX is an innovative gamma ray telescope with as prime objective the study of type Ia supernovae. The concept of MAX is radically different from the traditional gamma ray telescopes: gamma rays are focused from the large collecting area of a crystal diffraction lens on a very small detector volume. This paper discusses the implementation of the MAX space mission as lens-detector duo satellites in an active Formation Flying geometry. First, the 3-year mission objectives, science payload and system requirements are presented. Then, the MAX mission is described with an overview of the different mission phases, the selection of the orbit and launcher, the operational concept and some ground segment aspects. The space segment is then detailed. The satellites external configuration and accommodation under the launcher fairing is shown, followed by the description of the 200 kg platform and completed by the review of the Formation Flying sensors and actuators required to fulfil the mission objectives. Some programmatic aspects are also provided.
KeywordsFormation flying Gamma-ray science MAX mission Small-sat platforms
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