NASA’s Earth Science Division (ESD) requested the Earth Systematic Mission Program Office (ESMPO) to perform a mission study to determine the feasibility of accommodating a conceptual ASCENDS instrument on commercially available spacecraft buses as well as the feasibility of flying a conceptual observatory on an Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV) and in a Dual Spacecraft System (DSS) configuration. The team was made up of representatives from the ESMPO, the Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC3), the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL2) and the Langley Research Center (LaRC1).


The mission study covered eight areas and included assessments in the areas of mass, power, mechanical/thermal interface, volumetric, attitude determination and control (AD&CS), telecom, mission operations, and de-orbit considerations. Generic instrument parameters developed at JPL, GSFC and LaRC shown in (Table 1) were used in the study. Ball’s BCP 2000 spacecraft bus was used in the study as an example of a bus appropriate for supporting the ASCENDS mission.


NASA Langley researchers are attempting to develop a Carbon Dioxide (CO2) detection sensor, one of several proposed science instruments for the Active Sensing of Carbon Dioxide Emissions over Nights, Days and Seasons (ASCENDS) mission.