ASGSB 2003 Annual Meeting Abstracts


THE MARS GRAVITY BIOSATELLITE: PAYLOAD ENGINEERING DESIGN EFFORTS THROUGH PDR. T.R.F. Fulford-Jones1, M. Alvira2 and J.E. Keesee3. 1Harvard University Division of Engineering and Applied Sciences, 2MIT Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, 3MIT Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.

   The Mars Gravity Biosatellite, an international student-led program, will provide an artificial gravity testbed to study mammalian adaptation and development in partial gravity. The baseline mission profile specifies a launch of fifteen female mice and utilizes both rotational and non-rotational time-delayed ground controls. After five weeks in orbit, the animals will return to earth and will be recovered rapidly after reentry to minimize the effects of reloading.

   The Mars Gravity payload engineering team has been engaged in designing and prototyping suitable systems for use on board the satellite. Progress has been made in the design of animal habitat modules, life support systems and telemetry solutions. Novel approaches have been developed to meet the unique requirements imposed by a five-week mission duration.

   We summarize the status of payload engineering design as presented at Preliminary Design Review. We outline the reasoning behind major design decisions and detail the challenges encountered in creating an autonomous life-support system capable of operating for an extended period. We discuss the modification and augmentation of existing space hardware technology in the process of arriving at our current payload design, and detail our plan for testing systems over the coming months to ensure compliance with all requirements.


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