ANNOUNCEMENT OF OPPORTUNITY #1 'Sustainable near-Earth Access and Life Support (SEALS)'

 

The AO named Sustainable near-Earth Access and Life Support (SEALS) addressed technology reference studies concerning the investigation of the physical and technical limits of Earth or Sun-bound space mission concepts enabling the modification of orbital dynamics of a third body e.g. space hardware, debris or very small natural objects e.g. meter-sized asteroids. An additional objective was to explore the relations between the Near-Earth environment and life. Possible applications of this technology could but are not limited to orbital debris removal, asteroid deflection or solar system exploration.

Work was focused in particular on the technology proof of concept and the feasibility of an in-space demonstration, in the timeframe 2025+.

Four different Technical Assessment Challenges were proposed, which are listed and described below.

Challenge No. 1

Mission concepts and technologies for a Contactless Earth-bound object orbit modification system

Successful proposals described mission and technological concepts aimed at the modification of the orbit of an uncooperative object. They focused in particular on the technology proof of concept and the feasibility of an in-space demonstration, aiming to increase TRL from 6 to 9.

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Challenge No. 2

Mission concepts and technologies for contactless asteroid orbit modification system

Successful proposals described the mission and technological concepts for a (single or binary) asteroid orbit modification system. They focused in particular on the technology proof of concept and the feasibility of an in-space demonstration.

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Challenge No. 3

Mission concept and technologies for binary asteroid orbit modification

Binary System

Successful proposals described mission and technological concepts for a double asteroid relative orbit modification by kinetic impact . They focused in particular on the technology proof of concept and the feasibility of an in-space demonstration.

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Challenge No. 4

Mission concepts and technologies for a Life Support Systems demonstration in interplanetary space

Successful outline proposals described the mission and technological concepts to demonstrate the capability of today's LSSs to sustain the life of a consumer in interplanetary environment. Possible consumer candidates for the payload range from small invertebrates such as worms up to small mammals such as mice.
Outline Proposals focused in particular on technological applications of LSSs with the additional aim to enable measurements and records of key indicators that represent the physiological health of the payload.
The main objective was to investigate the feasibility of today's LSSs to preserve all living functions during interplanetary space flight. Secondary objectives could be proposed (e.g observe the impact of radiation on the consumer, analyse the development of the consumer to withstand the space environment).

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