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SPEDE Instrument in SMART-1 Mission

Smart-1 spacecraft

FMI participated in ESA's SMART-1 mission to the Moon with the SPEDE experiment (Spacecraft Potential, Electron and Dust Experiment) to complement ESTEC's (European Space Research and Technology Centre) own monitoring system.

SMART-1 mission was an important step towards further space exploration, where the new propulsion technique (ion thruster) and other advanced technologies were tested. The purpose of this mission was also to collect valuable information about the Moon that could improve our understanding of the evolution of the Solar System. The satellite was launched on 28.09.2003 from Kourou.

At the end of its mission SMART-1 was crash-landed on the Moon surface on September 3, 2006, at 08:42 Finnish time. The event was monitored from various ground stations in Europe and the US. Spectrum analysis of the material excavated by the satellite's impact offered a unique opportunity to determine the Moon's surface material composition at the impact site.

The Planetary Research group at FMI as Principal Investigator had the main responsibility for the SPEDE instrument, its development, integration, testing and operation. The complete electronics with its new technology concepts was designed and manufactured in Finland. Additionally the group at FMI was directly responsible for the flight software development and the analysis of the gathered data.

In the SPEDE project the group at FMI had an unique opportunity to get first-hand information about future technology strategies in space technology and strengthen Finland's role in ESA's space science program.

More information:

Walter Schmidt , tel. +358 29 539 4658