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Spectrometer Scan Mechanism for Encountering Jovian Orbit Trojan Asteroids

  • Lee, Kenneth Y.
  • Cramer, Alexander K.
  • Armani, Nerses V.
  • Zhao, Sam
  • Blumenstock, Kenneth A.
  • Church, Joseph C.
  • Parong, Fil A.
  • Niemeyer, Jason A.
Publication Date
May 13, 2020
NASA Technical Reports Server


This paper describes the design, testing, and lessons learned during the development of the Lucy Ralph (L'Ralph) Scan Mirror System (SMS), composed of the Scan Mirror Mechanism (SMM), Differential Position Sensor System (DPSS) and Mechanism Control Electronics (MCE). The L'Ralph SMS evolved from the Advanced Topographic Laser Altimeter System (ATLAS) Beam Steering Mechanism (BSM), so design comparisons will be made. Lucy is scheduled to launch in October 2021, embarking upon a 12-year mission to make close range encounters in 2025 and 2033 with seven Trojan asteroids and one main belt asteroid that are within the Jovian orbit. The L'Ralph instrument is based upon the New Horizons Ralph instrument, which is a panchromatic and color visible imager and infrared spectroscopic mapper that slewed the spacecraft for imaging. The L'Ralph SMM is to provide scanning for imaging to eliminate the need to slew the spacecraft. One purpose of this paper is to gain understanding of the reasoning behind some of the design features as compared with the ATLAS BSM. We will identify similarities and differences between the ATLAS BSM and the L'Ralph SMM that resulted from the latter's unique requirements. Another purpose of this paper is to focus upon "Lessons Learned" that came about during the development of the L'Ralph SMM and its MCE, both mechanism engineering issues and solutions as well as Ground Support Equipment (GSE) issues and solutions that came about during the validation of requirements process. At the time of this writing, the L'Ralph SMM has been flight qualified and delivered to the project.

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