PROJECTS

Comet Interceptor

Comet Interceptor has been selected as ESA’s new fast-class mission. Comprising three spacecraft, it will be the first to visit a truly pristine comet or other interstellar object that is only just starting its journey into the inner Solar System. I am involved in Optical Periscopic Imager for Comets (OPIC) and Entire Visible Sky (EnVisS) instruments. OPIC is named after an Estonian astronomer Ernst Öpik who proposed a reservoir of comets which is now called the Öpik–Oort cloud, from where the Comet Interceptor target would originate.

Finnish Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Space

Two major areas the project works on are space debris and radiation effects on satellites. FORESAIL-1 mission will demonstrate the plasma brake for deorbiting and measure radiation belt losses with PArticle TElescope (PATE). FORESAIL-2 will characterize ultra low frequency waves, Coulomb drag and radiation effects in various environments of altitudes ranging from low Earth orbit to several Earth radii. FORESAIL-3 aims to test the electric sail where it belongs — in the solar wind — which would require launching the satellite in lunar or other orbit that intersects with the solar wind.

Tradespace Analysis Tool for Constellations

I developed the TAT-C's orbit maintenance module which uses computationally-lightweight models to predict the long-term secular drift of relative orbital elements due to the gravitational 'J2' effects and the atmospheric drag. Simple orbital maneuvers are assumed to estimate the ∆v budget, propellant consumption and the frequency of maneuvers. This allows to explore a large set of constellation designs in a short time frame without propagating orbits.

Multi-Asteroid Touring

Muti-Asteroid Touring is a mission concept to flyby hundreds of asteroids with tens of nanospacecraft propelled by the electric sail. The concept was proposed by Pekka Janhunen, its instrument analysed by Mihkel Pajusalu and mechanical and thermal aspects by Iaroslav Iakubivskyi and Laurynas Mačiulis.

ESTCube-2

ESTCube-2 is a mission in low Earth orbit to demonstrate technologies required for testing the electric sail in the solar wind. It is a three-unit CubeSat ready for deep space — reaction wheels, star tracker, cold gas propulsion and the rest of the spacecraft bus fits in one unit, leaving the rest for payloads. Below is an animation of ESTCube-2 tether deployment by Taavi Torim.

ESTCube-1

ESTCube-1, launched in 2013, was the first satellite that attempted to test the electric solar wind sail. Below is an animation how the mission was intended. The reality was much more fun and it is presented in "ESTCube-1 In-Orbit Experience and Lessons Learned".