SMART-1

Going to the Moon

SMART-1 is a satellite built by the Swedish Space Corporation as the first in the European Space Agency (ESA) programme 'Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology'. 

Its main purpose is to flight-test a revolutionary solar-electric propulsion technology based on gas ionization. It is much more fuel-efficient than conventional chemical rockets and is intended to be used in future interplanetary and deep space missions.

To demonstrate the ‘ion’ engine, SMART-1 will spiral out from Earth until it is captured by the gravity field of the Moon. Having arrived at the Moon, SMART-1 will also carry out interesting science missions, such as mapping  the chemical composition of the lunar surface and look for water in the form of ice around the South Pole of the Moon. In addition to this, investigations will be made concerning the theory that the Moon was formed as a result of a smaller planet colliding violently with Earth more than four billion years ago.

SMART-1 was launched from Kourou, French Guiana, on 27 September 2003 and arrived at the Moon on 15 November 2004 after travelling more than 84 million kilometres using only 57 litres of fuel.

Spellbound developed several software tools for visualisation and analysis of telemetry data from SMART-1. They facilitate tasks such as monitoring of on-board activity, subsystem diagnostics and in-flight performance analysis of the spacecraft.

 

Spellbound also participated in the development of a distributed commanding system and test equipment for SMART-1. Using a set of simulators, it enables closed loop testing during assembly, integration and verification of the spacecraft. A specially developed procedural language allow engineers the automate tests by writing scripts.