Sector: Planetary exploration
Number of satellites: 2
Form factor: 6 U
The INNOVATOR project objective is the experimentation in orbit of an innovative payload that allows to carry out of very precise radio science observations, in the field of gravity science and atmospheric science. It is a transceiver for InterSatellite Link (ISL-T) that incorporates the following functions: (i) Telemetry, Tracking, and Control (TT&C), (ii) ranging measurements, (iii) range-rate measurements. Such a scientific instrument is not currently available in Europe, and its development and experimentation in orbit would allow the design and execution of a series of high-profile planetary exploration scientific missions. Furthermore, this experimentation would allow to consolidate and strengthen the Italian position of absolute importance in the context of the project, development, and data analysis of radio science experiments from planetary exploration missions. To reach this goal, the mission INNOVATOR was designed to include the launch of 2 6U CubeSats to be positioned on the same low earth orbit (potentially between 500 and 600km), with a relative distance that varies according to the phase of scientific observations. The two CubeSats will be constantly connected via radio by the ISL-T measurements, which will allow measurements of gravity and atmospheric profiles at high altitudes, in low orbit around the Earth, to test and validate the performance of the ISL- T itself.
Proposing Team: Distretto Tecnologico Aerospaziale (in sigla DTA) scarl (Prime), Thales Alenia Space Italia, Università di Bologna, IMT srl, Università di Bari, Planetek Italia srl