350 Times Faster Asteroid Survey

Sutter Ultra is a NASA NIAC phase 2 study to find smaller and slower asteroids up to 350 times faster than all existing surveys combined. They will use sensor configuration with many low cost, high performance Compound Telescopes with Matched Filter (CTMF) technology, arrayed into a fully integrated system.

They are making a ground demo system now and hope to have a small space based four telescope demo in 2023 and a full system launched in 2028.

They should find 50-100 water rich asteroids every year.

The mission concept is a constellation of three Sutter Ultra spacecraft in a novel, stable, heliocentric Pseudo Geocentric Distant Retrograde (PRO) orbit to better find asteroids close to Earth. The entire constellation can be built for less than $400M and launched on a single Falcon 9 class rocket. Each 1,000 kg class spacecraft carries over one hundred 30 cm class telescopes, each with its own onboard image processing capability, so the entire constellation carries more than 300 telescopes working in a coordinated search pattern with multi- view characterization of NEOs and ISRUs.

13 thoughts on “350 Times Faster Asteroid Survey”

  1. I haven't seen any UK writers use Milliard in technical descriptions. But I wouldn't be surprised.

    Probably have Mtonne and Mtonne to distinguish between Million and Milliard, and then the publisher converts it all to comic sans.

  2. Ouch. The *big* problem is the way English and Germans defined the words "billion" and "trillion" pre 1975. The rest is language, cannot really control. Rational beings such as calculators use exponential notation instead of the k, M, G T m p etc stuff, only the unit itself. Always remember, L is for liter, not l. edit: I believe it was Criswell that had an important paper in a popular place *corrected* when he wrote "trillion", meaning it, and it came out as "billion" in the publication, a trivial amount in the context of World energy economy.

  3. The other problem is that a lot of the US space presentations stick in a m, or an M, to mean "metric". At which point we've got no idea what they are on about if they say Mkm. Or mMkm. Or mT/mkm/Msec.

  4. Yes, as a general rule. I guess I may be biased by thinking of the km as the *same* thing as the mile, a basic unit. Even tho it is a k of something else, in this case it is very well used without thinking of the meter separately. Now, "Each 1,000 kg class spacecraft" is the best way, not "Each Mg class spacecraft", so "a million km" would be better, but it would not fit the graphic space.

  5. No, but I wouldn't make up my own unit the MegaKilometre either.

    When I make up units, I put more effort into making them interesting. The light-second is only 3 Mkm, why not use that?
    Or the micro-light-fortnight, which is about 1/10 the size of that.

  6. There's gold in them thair hills!

    The final slide takes a bold O'Neill revolution step I was reluctant to, but now will: ISRU means !!!!! "In *Space* Resource Use" !!!!! This now makes actual sense, as "In Situ" means where found, at the site, which is rarely the case anywhere, for anything, and can be on Earth as well as anywhere, Space or not. ISRU now goes right along with ISM, "In Space Manufacturing", for ISMRU.

  7. After you find one, you can do that to get more precise orbit. These plans are to survey, for both safety and prospecting, so they have to see the 'roid move over time before knowing where it is. All of them!

  8. You have GM on the mind!

    But seriously, if someone said "a million kms" you would not correct them to "a gigameter"?

  9. I wonder how far apart they would need to have 2 space telescopes looking at the same point in the sky to be able to simply use parallax to spot NEOs

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