The rocket science behind asteroid exploration | Friederike Wolff
The universe has always been a source for fascination, but only in the last decades have we been able to land on and explore other bodies in the solar system. Friederike Wolff takes us on her team’s journey to explore the fascinating world of small asteroids. In her talk, she recounts the challenges of planning a mission to an unfamiliar object and building the asteroid lander MASCOT.
About Friederike Wolff
Friederike Wolff trained to be a space engineer and worked on MASCOT’s mobility system as part of the DLR Institute of System Dynamics and Control. The institute develops efficient simulations and intelligent control systems for space robots, space flight systems and aircraft as well as road and rail vehicles. Friederike was responsible for moving the lander safely through the unknown environment of asteroid Ryugu. The robust optimization of the mobility system actuation was paramount to the successful mission by enabling the locomotion of the asteroid lander.
About the Hayabusa2 mission and MASCOT:
Hayabusa2 is a Japanese space agency (Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency; JAXA) mission to the near-Earth asteroid Ryugu. The German-French lander MASCOT on board Hayabusa2 was developed by the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and built in close cooperation with the French space agency CNES (Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales). DLR, the Institut d'Astrophysique Spatiale and the Technical University of Braunschweig have contributed the scientific experiments on board MASCOT. The MASCOT lander and its experiments are operated and controlled by DLR with support from CNES and in constant interaction with the Hayabusa2 team. The DLR Institute of Space Systems in Bremen was responsible for developing and testing the lander together with CNES. The DLR Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems in Braunschweig was responsible for the stable structure of the lander. The DLR Robotics and Mechatronics Center in Oberpfaffenhofen developed the swing arm that allows MASCOT to hop on the asteroid. The DLR Institute of Planetary Research in Berlin contributed the MasCam camera and the MARA radiometer. The asteroid lander is monitored and operated from the MASCOT Control Center in the Microgravity User Support Center (MUSC) at the DLR site in Cologne. Friederike worked on the mobility system as part of the DLR Institute of System Dynamics and Control.