Characterization of Asteroids Using Nanospacecraft Flybys and Simultaneous Localization and Mapping

Mihkel Pajusalu, Andris Slavinskis

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionScientificpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Nanospacecraft could enable detailed characterization of many asteroids in a small timeframe by launching multiple spacecraft simultaneously to visit a large set of targets. To be able to characterize as large of a set of asteroids as possible, however, visits to individual asteroids would be limited to flybys, which would have to be autonomous. As an additional challenge, due to the limitations of nanospacecraft and a massively parallel architecture, Earth-based localization and communication infrastructure, such as the Deep Space Network, cannot be relied upon. We have developed an optical instrument prototype and an image simulation system for autonomous asteroid flybys and 3D multispectral mapping using nanospacecraft. The final system is targeted to fit into a single CubeSat unit (a 10 cm cube) and to have the mass of less than 1 kg. The images are used for structure from motion algorithms to determine the quality of 3D reconstruction to be expected from this mission. We are presenting the instrument design, the simulation system, and the simultaneous localization and mapping system developed for nanospacecraft asteroid flybys.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2019 IEEE Aerospace Conference, AERO 2019
ISBN (Electronic)9781538668542
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2019
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventIEEE Aerospace Conference - Big Sky, United States
Duration: 2 Mar 20199 Mar 2019

Publication series

NameIEEE Aerospace Conference Proceedings
ISSN (Print)1095-323X


ConferenceIEEE Aerospace Conference
Abbreviated titleAERO
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityBig Sky


Dive into the research topics of 'Characterization of Asteroids Using Nanospacecraft Flybys and Simultaneous Localization and Mapping'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this