Space Systems Laboratory (SSL)

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Smart 1

The European Space Agency's Science Programme encompasses, in addition to the ambitious 'Cornerstone' and medium-sized missions, recently dubbed 'flexi-missions', small relatively low-cost missions. These have been given the generic name SMART - 'Small Missions for Advanced Research in Technology'. Their purpose is to test new technologies that will eventually be used on bigger projects.

SMART-1 is the first in this programme. Its primary objective is to flight test Solar Electric Primary Propulsion as the key technology for future Cornerstones in a mission representative of a deep-space one. ESA's projected BepiColombo mission to explore the planet Mercury could be the first to benefit from SMART-1's demonstration of electric propulsion. Another objective is to test new technologies for spacecraft and instruments.

The planetary objective selected for the SMART-1 mission is to orbit the Moon for a nominal period of six months. Smart1 It is the first time that Europe send a spacecraft to the Moon. The project aims to have the spacecraft ready early in 2003 for launch as an Ariane-5 auxiliary payload. In addition to the use of solar electric primary propulsion to reach Earth's natural satellite, the spacecraft will carry out a complete programme of scientific observations in lunar orbit.

The mission ended on September 3rd, 2006 was deliberately crash landed into the moon.


D-CIXS is a Demonstration of a Compact Imaging X-ray Spectrometer selected as part of the payload for SMART-1. D-CIXS employs radical new technology to greatly reduce the mass and volume of the instrument. It will represent a new generation of x-ray instruments for planetary observation.

Dr Alleyne is a Co-Investigator of this experiment.