NASA's Europa Multiple-Flyby Mission Moves Forward To Design Phase
(Photo : Smithsonian National Air and Space Musuem/YouTube screenshot)
NASA's Europa multiple-flyby mission is currently moving forward into its preliminary design phase referred to as "Phase B." It completed its Key Decision Point-B review and started the preliminary design "Phase B" on Feb. 27, 2017.
Curt Niebur, the program scientist for the mission at NASA Headquarters, was overwhelmed and said it was an extremely successful KDP-B. He further said that the review did highlight the need for the mission carefully watch its mass and power levels as it goes into a more detailed level of design work. He added that they have been generous in the allocations for these thus far. On the other hand, they are now to the point where things are locking down and they must carefully manage and track those resources, as noted by DNews.
Europa's mission aims to study and examine the habitability of Jupiter's ocean-bearing moon Europa. The goal is to detect possible alien life on Europa.
The new mission will continue through September 2018. During Phase A, the spacecraft components including solar cells and science instrument detectors have been tested. This will continue into Phase B, and during this phase, the subsystem vendors will be selected together with the prototype hardware elements for the science instruments. Its subassemblies will also be developed and tested, according to Phys.org.
The Europa mission spacecraft is slated for launching in the 2020s. It will orbit Jupiter as often as every two weeks and provide many opportunities for close flybys of Europa. This will include 40 to 45 flybys in the prime mission. It will also image the moon's icy surface at high resolution and examine its composition and the structure of its interior and icy shell.
Phase A has been completed and now it is into preliminary design Phase B. Meanwhile, it will also undergo Phases C and D that involve final design, spacecraft fabrication assembly and testing and the launching.