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Application for RSO Automated Proximity Analysis and IMAging (ARAPAJMA): Development of a Nanosat-based Space Situational Awareness Mission

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Conference Paper

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Space Development and Test Directorate Albuquerque United States

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ARAPAIMA is a proximity operations mission sponsored by the US Air Force Office of Scientific ResearchAFOSR and the Air Force Research Laboratory AFRL, to perform the in-orbit demonstration of autonomousproximity operations for visible, infrared, and point cloud generation of resident space objects RSOs from ananosat platform. The nanosat is of the 6U CubeSat class, with overall dimensions of 12x24x36cm, a mass of9.78kg, and has been selected as part of AFRLs University NanoSat Program UNP Cycle 8. This paper describesthe mission goals, concept of operations, science objectives and subsystem design and selection, with focus given toa detailed mission analysis and the requirements flow-down.By demonstrating robust, affordable, and responsive rendezvous and proximity operations of a nanosat with anuncooperative RSO, successful completion of the ARAPAIMA mission will validate a range of technologies forspace-based space situational awareness SSA and debris removal from Low Earth Orbit LEO. In addition, themission will validate a set of key technologies and their integration at system level, such as miniaturizedcommercially available sensors, a miniaturized warm gas propulsion system for CubeSat applications, as well asadvanced relative navigation and proximity operations algorithms implemented on a nanosat.

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