A New Phase in the Hera On-Board Software Development by SPACEBEL

Earlier this year, ESA officially commissioned SPACEBEL as contractor to realize Hera’s central software architecture, engineering and development featuring extreme on-board autonomy similar to that of a driverless car and requiring state-of-the-art IT technologies.
Following the System Requirements Review that took place a couple of months ago, Phase B2 of this extraordinary project has been recently kicked off. Aim: consolidate the system design, system and subsystem specifications. This new step reinforces our role in the Hera community as well as our involvement in Earth protection activities.

Hera, ESA’s candidate mission to fly to a binary near-Earth asteroid system, will be presented for approval at ESA’s upcoming Ministerial Council “Space 19+” in November. Almost half of the ESA Member States are taking part in this first international planetary defense experiment in cooperation with NASA.

Asteroid impacts are a serious threat for vital infrastructure and life on Earth. Hence the idea to test out in-orbit deflection techniques and scientific research in the neighbourhood of a twin asteroid system composed of Didymos, the 780m diameter main body, and its accompanying 160m diameter moonlet called Didymoon. In 2022, NASA’s DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) probe is planned to collide with the smaller body in order to shift its orbit. Due for launch in 2024, Hera will investigate the aftermath of the crash and study the composition and structure of the celestial body from 2026 onwards.

The ultimate goal of this inspiring Hera demonstration mission is to validate a viable method to safeguard our planet Earth and mankind from possible asteroid impacts. A revolutionary project to which SPACEBEL is proud to contribute substantially…

Published October 10th, 2019