The Swedish Space Corporation (SSC), the prime contractor for the European Space Agency's (ESA) Small Missions for Advanced Research and Technology (Smart 1), has delivered the onboard avionics, computer and peripheral devices for the craft to ESA's technology centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands.

The 350kg (770lb) Smart technology demonstration craft, which will orbit the moon, will be carried piggyback on an Ariane 5 commercial communications satellite launch next year.

SSC leads an international team of 11 European countries and the USA developing instruments and equipment for Smart 1. In addition to its prime-contractor role, SSC is responsible for the craft's systems engineering, the development of the controller area network onboard control unit and the star tracker-based orbit and attitude control system.

One of the prime objectives of Smart 1, the first in a series of planned ESA missions using the spacecraft bus, is the flight demonstration of an Electric Primary Propulsion ion engine which will slowly propel the spacecraft from an Earth transfer orbit into lunar orbit over 12 months. The Smart spacecraft bus will be used in future missions to further the development of innovative equipment, says ESA.

Source: Flight International