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Title: (abstract) Saturn Mini-Probes Mission
Authors: Wallace, R.A.
Ayon, J.A.
Lane, A.L.
Nunez, C.L.
West, R.A.
Issue Date: 12-Apr-1994
Citation: Laurel, MD
Abstract: The original Cassini mission concept for intensive Saturn exploration included dual atmospheric probes - to Titan and Saturn. The Saturn probe was lost in Cassini Project cost reduction, but the Saturn atmospheric goals are still important to the planetary science community - especially it measurements can be acquired during synoptic coverage by the Cassini Orbiter. New advanced technology and design heritage from the Pluto Fast Flyby mission permit a low cost mission concept for launch early in the first decade of the 21st century, in time to take advantage of the Cassini spacecraft being in orbit around Saturn. This paper will describe such a concept. The mini-probe carrier can be a relatively simple design, depending on a solar array/battery power system design instead of Radioactive Thermoelectric Generators (RTGs) with their attendant programmatic complexities, costs, and constraints. The Atlas IIAS/Star 48B, Proton, and STS with upper stage are launch vehicle options which permit modest payload deliveries to Saturn with relatively short flight times (3 to 4 years) such that the mini-probes arrive in the time period when the Cassini Orbiter is operating at Saturn. The Cassini time-line with a compatible SMP mission sequence is described. An example mission concept includes a carrier spacecraft with three 10 to 20 kg mini-probes, launched in the late summer of 2001 by an Atlas IIAS/Star 48B on a 3.8 year trip to Saturn. Preliminary evaluation of the Cassini time-line suggests compatibility of the probe entries with collecting the data for Earth-return.
Appears in Collections:JPL TRS 1992+

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