Terran Orbital Corporation (NYSE: LLAP), has announced that the firm’s wholly-owned subsidiary, Tyvak International SRL, and partners have achieved full, Critical Design Review (CDR) of the Milani spacecraft.
A critical component of the Hera planetary defense mission, Milani will be the European Space Agency’s (ESA) first, deep-space smallsat. Milani will also be the first smallsat to orbit an asteroid. Tyvak International is responsible for Milani’s design, build and mission operations. In this exploration, Tyvak International is joined by a consortium of European industries and research centers from Finland, Czech Republic and Italy.
The world’s first test of asteroid deflection, Hera, will perform a detailed, post-impact survey of the target asteroid, Dimorphos – the orbiting moonlet in a binary asteroid system known as Didymos. NASA’s DART mission will first impact the moonlet.
Following the DART impact, Hera will turn the experiment into a well-understood and repeatable planetary defense technique, using new technologies from autonomous navigation around an asteroid to low gravity proximity operations.
Hera will be humankind’s first probe to rendezvous with a binary asteroid system and Europe’s flagship Planetary Defender.
Milani, named after Andrea Milani, the pioneer of asteroid risk analysis who came up with the original double-spacecraft DART-Hera concept, is a companion smallsat of HERA, carried by the mothercraft along the journey to the asteroid and ultimately released in the asteroid’s proximity.
Milani’s main instrument will be the ASPECT hyperspectral imager (by VTT, Finland), combining visible and near-infrared wavelengths to survey the surface down to a maximum spatial resolution of one meter.
ASPECT will sift through sunlight reflected from Dimorphos as well as its bigger companion, Didymos, looking for distinctive, mineral absorptions of individual asteroid boulders.
Milani’s secondary payload is called VISTA (Volatile In-Situ Thermogravimeter Analyzer). The instrument (by INAF, Italy) can detect the presence of dust particles smaller than 5-10 micrometers in water and will monitor molecular contamination surrounding the satellite. Finally, laser reflectors (by INFN, Italy) will enable unprecedented gravity field measurements of the asteroid coupled with Hera’s laser range finder.
“Terran Orbital is honored to be selected once again for a contract that will yield unprecedented scientific returns for the global community while propelling Europe’s ambitions in Planetary Defense capabilities,” said Terran Orbital Co-Founder, Chairman, and Chief Executive Officer, Marc Bell. “Tyvak International’s design and construction of the Milani spacecraft will enable the acquisition of extremely valuable information for future asteroid deflection missions. We are thrilled ESA trusted us with this privilege, and we look forward to continuing to design, build, deliver, and operate cutting-edge satellite solutions that make our planet a safer place to live.”
“We are absolutely thrilled by the maturity reached by the Milani spacecraft in such a short time,” said ESA Hera Project Manager, Ian Carnelli. “The capability of Tyvak International, not only to meet this important milestone but to do so while developing new advanced technologies with its partners, is unprecedented. We look forward to continuing this adventure and giving Milani a beautiful ride to Didymos.”
Tyvak International, a Terran Orbital Corporation, is a leading European nano and microsatellite provider, based in Torino, Italy. A front runner in miniaturization and specialized in execution and delivery, Tyvak International is contract Prime of European Space Agency for the Milani mission, coordinating a team of 12 entities, universities, research centers, and enterprises in Italy and across all Europe. Learn more at www.tyvak.eu.
Terran Orbital is a leading manufacturer of small satellites primarily serving the aerospace and defense industries. Terran Orbital provides end-to-end satellite solutions by combining satellite design, production, launch planning, mission operations, and on-orbit support to meet the needs of the most demanding military, civil, and commercial customers. Learn more at www.terranorbital.com.