Overview of Flagship Class Venus Mission Architectures
Cutts, James A.
Kwok, Johnny H.
Balint, Tibor S.
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Introduction: To assess the feasibility and potential technology needs of a future planned Venus Flagship class mission, NASA is funding a mission study in this fiscal year (FY08). Such a mission was recommended in NASA's 2006 Solar System Exploration Roadmap  and in the NRC SSE Decadal Survey . The final mission architecture is required to be in line with the primary science goals and objectives, as defined in the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG) White Paper , and enabled by suitable extreme environments technologies . In order to assist the Science and Technology Definition Team (STDT) for this year's study, an initial assessment was performed at JPL during the summer of 2007 , evaluating 17 potential mission architectures. Science requirements focused the architectures to near surface in situ missions only. Consequently, the studied architectures were bound by a New Frontiers (medium) class short lived surface mission concept at one end, working towards a future large Flagship class Venus Surface Sample Return (VSSR) mission at the other end, and through a number of architectures at various levels of complexities and corresponding cost levels. In this paper we outline the findings of last summer's study, including the recommended 3 key mission architecture groups - i.e., landers, mobile platforms, and geophysical networks - and link them to the final mission architecture from this year's study. References:  NASA - SSE Roadmap Team, "Solar System Exploration - Solar System Exploration Roadmap for NASA's Science Mission Directorate", Report Number: JPL-D-35618, NASA Science Missions Directorate, Planetary Science Division, Washington, D.C., 2006.  NRC, New Frontiers in the Solar System, an integrated exploration strategy, Technical re-port, Space Studies Board, National Research Council, Washington, D.C., 2003.  VEXAG, "Venus Exploration Goals, Objectives, Investigations, and Priorities: 2007", Website: http://www.lpi.usra.edu/vexag/, Viewed: March 12, 2008.  Kolawa, E., et al., "Extreme Environments Technologies for Future Space Science Mis-sions," Report Number : JPL D-32832, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, September 19, 2007.  Balint, T.S., Cutts, J.A., "Venus Flagship Class Missions Architectures", Presented at the 4th meeting of the Venus Exploration Analysis Group (VEXAG), Greenbelt, MD, November 4-5, 2007.