Biography:

In the past Alex Ellery has collaborated on articles with Robert (Lauchie) Scott. One of their most recent publications is Vanguard—a European robotic astrobiology-focussed Mars sub-surface mission proposal. Which was published in journal Acta Astronautica.

More information about Alex Ellery research including statistics on their citations can be found on their Copernicus Academic profile page.

Alex Ellery's Articles: (4)

Vanguard—a European robotic astrobiology-focussed Mars sub-surface mission proposal

AbstractWe present a new European Mars mission proposal to build on the UK-led Beagle2 Mars mission and continue its astrobiology-focussed investigation of Mars. The small surface element to be delivered to the Martian surface—Vanguard—is designed to be carried by a Mars Express-type spacecraft bus to Mars and adopts a similar entry, descent and landing system as Beagle2. The surface element comprises a triad of robotic devices—a lander, a micro-rover of the Sojourner class for surface mobility, and three ground-penetrating moles mounted onto the rover for sub-surface penetration to 5m depth. The major onboard instruments on the rover include a Raman spectrometer/imager, a laser plasma spectrometer, an infrared spectrometer—these laser instruments provide the basis for in situ “remote” sensing of the sub-surface Martian environment within a powerful scientific package. The moles carry the instruments’ sensor head array to the sub-surface. The moles are thus required to undergo a one-way trip down the boreholes without the need for recovery of moles or samples, eliminating much of the robotic complexity invoked by such operations.

A low-cost approach to the exploration of Mars through a robotic technology demonstrator mission

AbstractWe present a proposed robotic mission to Mars—Vanguard—for the Aurora Arrow programme which combines an extensive technology demonstrator with a high scientific return. The novel aspect of this technology demonstrator is the demonstration of “water mining” capabilities for in situ resource utilisation (ISRU) in conjunction with high-value astrobiological investigation within a low-mass lander package of 70 kg. The basic architecture comprises a small lander, a micro-rover and a number of ground-penetrating moles. This basic architecture offers the possibility of testing a wide variety of generic technologies associated with space systems and planetary exploration. The architecture provides for the demonstration of specific technologies associated with planetary surface exploration, and with the Aurora programme specifically. Technology demonstration of ISRU will be a necessary precursor to any future human mission to Mars. Furthermore, its modest mass overhead allows the re-use of the already built Mars Express bus, making it a very low-cost option.

The case for robotic on-orbit servicing of spacecraft: Spacecraft reliability is a myth

AbstractThis paper presents some of the results of an 18-month study into robotic on-orbit servicing (OOS) by the authors for the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fur Luft und Raumfahrt (DLR)), which leads the world in this area of space technology development. Rather than dealing with technology issues, however, we deal with issues concerning the potential market (the “demand” side) for OOS. We present the case that robotic OOS is not only commercially feasible, but also even more strongly assert that it is essential. We consider in particular the recent high incidence of on-orbit failures in geostationary telecommunications platforms. We present the sobering statistics of such failures, and determine that only OOS can mitigate these and future failures. OOS represents the first space-based commercial opportunity that serves the space industry itself rather than Earth-oriented applications more typical of commercial space activities, and to that end provides the basis for future space infrastructure development.

An approach to ground based space surveillance of geostationary on-orbit servicing operations

Highlights•Surveillance of closely-spaced, on-orbit servicing operations in GEO is explored.•Speckle interferometry using cross-spectrum was applied to this problem.•An observational approach and estimation model is described.•The approach was tested using co-located satellites as OOS observational proxies.•The cross-spectrum approach shows promise in this specialized SSA application.

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