- Dubbed the CubeSat Application for Planetary Entry Missions (CAPE), the concept involves the development of two modules: a service module that would propel the spacecraft to its celestial target and a separate planetary entry probe that could survive a rapid dive through the atmosphere of an extraterrestrial planet, all while reliably transmitting scientific and engineering data.
- Once it reached its destination, the sensor-loaded entry vehicle would separate from its service module and begin its descent through the target’s atmosphere. It would communicate atmospheric pressure, temperature, and composition data to the mother ship, which then would transmit the information back to Earth.
- Esper and his team are planning to test the stability of a prototype entry vehicle —the Micro-Reentry Capsule (MIRCA) — this summer during a high-altitude balloon mission from Fort Sumner, New Mexico.
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