Systems Engineering Seminar

Small Rocket/Spacecraft Technology (SMART) Platform

Presented by:
Jaime Esper, GSFC Code 592

Tuesday September 13, 2011, 1:00 p.m.
Building 3 Auditorium


Small Rocket/Spacecraft Technology (SMART) Platform

A new microsatellite designed to give scientists less expensive access to space will be demonstrated during a NASA Terrier-Improved Orion suborbital sounding rocket flight between 7 and 10 a.m., June 9, from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. The backup launch day is June 10.

The Small Rocket/Spacecraft Technology (SMART) platform, created by engineers at the Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md., and the Department of Defense Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) Office at the Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico, is designed to provide faster, less expensive access to space because of its modular, reconfigurable design. Users can adapt SMART to fulfill a variety of missions ranging from optical imaging to radio-frequency applications.

Comparable in size to an old-fashioned hatbox, measuring nearly 16 inches (40 centimeters) in diameter, the SMART microsatellite can be integrated and readied for launch in as few as seven days for less than $1 million, said Goddard engineer Jaime Esper, platform designer. “We’ve developed a creative way to reduce mission life-cycle times, with the resulting savings in cost. This enables a new class of researchers who can’t afford the high costs of getting into space.”

SMART will be installed on the Suborbital Technology Carrier (SubTEC) that Wallops engineers developed to help mature emerging technologies faster. The carrier consists of two experiment sections and a suite of support instrumentation that can be retrieved, refurbished, and reused after each flight.



Photo of Jaime Esper Mr. Esper has nearly 30 years of combined leadership experience in advanced missions and system concepts, spacecraft systems and technologies, instrumentation, and spacecraft operations. He is currently the GSFC Operationally Responsive Space Technical Program Manager. Most recently Mr. Esper spent a year in Germany working on his doctoral dissertation at the University of Stuttgart, Institute of Space Systems, specializing in mission design and technologies for planetary entry missions, where he developed a new Thermal Protection System (TPS) material for hyperbolic entry speeds. Previously he was the SMEX Mission Systems Engineer for Formulation, the NASA Chief Engineer for the TacSat-2 Minotaur 1 launch from the Wallops Flight Facility, and the Deputy Chief Engineer for the Robotic Lunar Lander Project at MSFC. Over the past 8 years he has been the Principal Investigator and Research Project Manager for modular and reconfigurable systems technology at NASA GSFC. Past fellow of the GSFC Technology Management Office’s Distinguished Technology Fellows Program detailed to the Air Force Research Laboratory (Kirtland AFB), and GSFC Liaison to the DOD Space Test Program. Mr. Esper has worked on numerous Space and Earth Science and Technology flight projects in capacities ranging from Spacecraft Controller (International Ultraviolet Explorer) to Mission Systems Engineer (Space Technology 5). He has participated in numerous Concept Formulation activities, including several now in implementation phase, worked in the Hubble Space Telescope Project for seven years, including in capacity as Flight System Lead for the Fine Guidance Sensor replacement in Servicing Mission 2. He is a Program Committee member organizing symposia/conferences for the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), and the International Astronautical Federation (IAF). Mr. Esper has received numerous awards, including the NASA Medal for Exceptional Service for technology development and mission formulation, and the Robert H. Goddard Award for Engineering Excellence. Mr. Esper holds a BS degree in Physics, and MS degree in Astronomy from the University of Florida, and an MS degree in Aerospace Engineering from The George Washington University.



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