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Lunar Nano Drone for a mission of exploration of lava tubes on the Moon: Propulsion System

Gabriele Podesta'

Lunar Nano Drone for a mission of exploration of lava tubes on the Moon: Propulsion System.

Rel. Paolo Maggiore, Piero Messidoro. Politecnico di Torino, Corso di laurea magistrale in Ingegneria Aerospaziale, 2020

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In the last years, the idea of a return on the Moon has become more and more popular all over the world, in a special way for NASA’s dedication, which led to the definition of the Artemis program. The Moon can potentially offer, looking at the long term, various resources for future missions or even for the Earth, as well as a unique environment to conduct scientific experiments. ESA and NASA are currently maintaining a dialogue, which emphasizes the Gateway station, while on the 29th October 2020 ASI and NASA signed an agreement which sets the bases for a long-life bilateral cooperation in the above-mentioned Artemis program, particularly for activities on the lunar surface. The LuNaDrone mission would perfectly fit for this scenario, to contextualize combined initiatives like shelters or foundation habitats. Furthermore, it would represent an incentive for Italian SME and start-up with a view on the New Space Economy, as well as for the academia. This thesis focuses on a preliminary study of a mission that aims to the exploration of lunar caves by means of a drone, able to fly autonomously. These could be noticeably of interest, because they could potentially represent shelters for human life on our satellite, guaranteeing protection from radiations. The beginning of the thesis introduces an overview about the past and actual lunar exploration, in which LuNaDrone mission would fit, followed by another overview about the mission itself and the spacecraft to be designed. These two sections are in common with two colleagues, who then treat other subjects separately. The remaining parts are the presentation of the study about the propulsion system hypothesized for the spacecraft, as the specific subject of this thesis. The aim is to motivate the choices and to understand which parameters have the major impacts on the whole system in terms of mass and encumbrances. The methods utilized are the research of the state of the art (available items on the market or in development, favouring COTS items) and preliminary calculations for a rough sizing of the components. Taking into account the requirements of the mission, the final step is composed of a confrontation and an iteration among the colleagues in order to obtain information about the actual feasibility of the mission.

Relators: Paolo Maggiore, Piero Messidoro
Academic year: 2020/21
Publication type: Electronic
Number of Pages: 122
Corso di laurea: Corso di laurea magistrale in Ingegneria Aerospaziale
Classe di laurea: New organization > Master science > LM-20 - AEROSPATIAL AND ASTRONAUTIC ENGINEERING
Aziende collaboratrici: Politecnico di Torino
URI: http://webthesis.biblio.polito.it/id/eprint/17038
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