Feasibility of asteroid exploration using CubeSats-ASPECT case study

Tomas Kohout*, Antti Näsilä, Tuomas Tikka, Mikael Granvik, Antti Kestilä, Antti Penttilä, Janne Kuhno, Karri Muinonen, Kai Viherkanto, Esa Kallio

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Operation of a small CubeSat in the deep-space microgravity environment brings additional challenging factors including the increased radiation environment, the significant contribution of non-gravitational forces to the satellite orbit, or the limited communication opportunities. These factors need to be taken into account in the form of modifications to the classic CubeSat architecture. Increased radiation resistance, the semi-autonomous satellite operation, navigation, and the active orbit correction are required. Such a modified CubeSat platform can potentially deliver a high performance to mass and cost ratios. The Asteroid Spectral Imaging Mission (ASPECT) is a three unit (3U) CubeSat mission built on these principles. It is part of the AIDA (Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment) project to the binary asteroid Didymos. ASPECT is equipped with a visible to near-infrared hyperspectral imager and will deliver both technological knowledge as well as scientific data about the origin and evolution of Solar System small bodies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2239-2244
Number of pages6
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number8
Early online date31 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Binary asteroid
  • CubeSat
  • Didymos
  • Impact
  • Kinetic impactor
  • Planetary defense
  • Space weathering
  • Spectroscopy


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