COLOGNE, Germany — The German Aerospace Center, DLR, has partnered with the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) on a planned low-cost asteroid mission called Destiny+, expected to launch toward the asteroid 3200 Phaethon in 2024.
DLR will build the Destiny Dust Analyzer instrument, which will measure the properties of cosmic dust during the spacecraft’s four-year cruise and its flyby of the 5.8-kilometer asteroid.
The spacecraft will test innovative technologies that JAXA hopes to utilize in its future deep space exploration missions.
“The objective of this mission is to make deep space exploration accessible with a small launcher,” Carsten Henselowsky, Destiny+ project manager at DLR, told SpaceNews. “The mission will also test advanced trajectory planning routines that will probe new ways of reaching the desired orbit, new lightweight solar cells and electric propulsion.”
DLR, which signed the contract for the mission with JAXA on Nov. 11 during an online joint strategy dialogue meeting, will fund the development of the dust analyzer, which will be built by the Institute of Space Systems at the University of Stuttgart.
JAXA is responsible for funding the mission, including its launch aboard Japan’s Epsilon rocket.
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