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Designs by Destination

No matter where you want to explore, Compass is ready to journey with you! Compass has designed missions to every planet of our solar system as well as many of their moons!

Mercury

Mercury
Mercury

Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) Stage for Mercury Lander (2009) 

Solar Electric Propulsion Stage

SEP Stage to propel a Mercury Lander (Lander designed by the Applied Physics Laboratory at Johns Hopkins University for the Decadal Study). Leverages NEXT xenon gridded ion thrusters and an advanced high-temperature solar array. 

Venus

Venus
Venus

Landers

Advanced Lithium Ion Venus Explorer (ALIVE)- NIAC Venus Lander (formerly EVE) (2012)

Advanced Lithium Ion Venus Explorer

Study to evaluate chemical based power systems for keeping a Venus lander alive (providing power and cooling) and functional for a period of days. Partnered with Applied Research Laboratory at Penn State University.

Paper available on NTRS.

Venus Landsailer (Zephyr) (2013)

Venus Landsailer (Zephyr)

Venus landsailing rover to explore the Venusian surface. Slowly sails across the plains of Venus using steady 0.5 m/s winds or currents.

Paper available on NTRS.

3-D Printer Files

The following are the .stl files necessary to print the Venus Landsailer on a 3D printer:

 Venus Weather Station (2016)

 Venus Weather Station

The Venus Weather Station mission is a set of two landed stations operating at high temperature and long duration which will be able to provide periodic environmental and weather data for an entire Venus Morning to Morning (120 days). Deployed from large balloon probe (other options to deploy from dedicated aeroshell).

3-D Printer Files

The following are the .stl files necessary to print Venus Weather Station on a 3D printer:

Seismic and Atmospheric Exploration of Venus (SAEVe) (2017)

Seismic and Atmospheric Exploration of Venus

Venusian lander design targeting a $100M cost cap. The lander gathers IR, temperature, pressure, and chemical data during descent and for an entire Venusian night/day. Wind and seismic data is added on the surface. An option which includes a camera was also developed!

Long-Lived In-Situ Solar System Explorer (LLISSE) Tech Demo (2019)

Long-Lived In-Situ Solar System Explorer
LLISSE

A high temperature tolerant Venus lander technology demonstrator to fly with a Discovery Mission. Designed to fit a $20M cost cap, the lander makes use of SiC electronics to survive the high temperatures and pressures without requiring a pressure vessel.

 Venus Bridge Orbiter and Surface Study  (2017)

Venus Bridge Orbiter

The Venus Bridge seeks to develop a two element mission (long duration lander or aerial vehicle and orbiter relay) which fits in a $200M cost cap. Launch Year: 2025, Lifetime: 120 earth days on surface (~ 1 day/night cycle).

Atmospheric Probes

 LEAVES (2018) and LEAVES 2 (2019)

LEAVES

Light, inexpensive radar retroreflectors with rensors to probe Venus’s atmosphere. Senses chemistry, pressure and temperature, as well as tracking wind speed and direction. Conducted as a NIAC study.

Paper available on NTRS.

Crewed Missions

Human Exploration using Real-time Robotic Operations – Venus (HERROV) (2010)

Human Exploration using Real-time Robotic Operations

A crewed mission to Venus, based on the previous Compass mission HERRO. Allows for real time investigation of Venus by sending astronauts to orbit the target and telerobotically explore them using robotic systems.

Earth

Earth
Earth

International Space Station Experiments

Communications, Navigation, and Networking re-Configurable Testbed (CoNNeCT) (2008)

The Connect flight system

The CoNNeCT flight system (also called SCaN Testbed) was installed on the International Space Station (ISS) Express Logistics Carrier (ELC) inboard upper starboard site via extravehicular activity (EVA). Designed to operate for a minimum of 2 years. The system demonstrated software-defined radios on orbit!

3-D Printer Files

The following are the .stl files necessary to print CoNNeCT on a 3D printer:

High Altitude Balloons

Stratospheric High Altitude Research for Planetary Science (SHARPS) (2012)

Stratospheric High Altitude Research for Planetary Science

High altitude balloon gondola capable of providing a platform for planetary science applications. Delivers gondola with telescope to an altitude of 30 km for the purpose of observing planets and other planetary bodies. Provides a lower cost and longer observation times than current assets.

Science and Communications Orbiters

Small GEO Space Based Relay (SBR) (2013)

Small GEO Space Based Relay

Provide one S-band/Ka-band single access relay to a ground system, carried by a dedicated small geostationary satellite. Provides 1.2 Gbps from single Earth orbit user or 80 Mbps from lunar users.

Space Hyperspectral Algae Research Cubesat (SHARC) (2014) and Hypercube (2015)

Cubesats

Cubesats, equipped with a hyperspectral imagers to study the algae blooms in the Great Lakes.

3-D Printer Files

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GTO Smallsat (2016)

GTO Smallsat

Demonstrate the rapid development, integration, and delivery of a low-cost, small satellite – with a spacecraft architecture that could be employed for a variety of missions in the future. Different combinations of propulsion, power, communications, and payload were explored, along with adaptability for different launch providers.

Canopy Height and Glacier Elevation change (CHanGE) (2018)

Canopy Height and Glacier Elevation change

CHanGE is an instrument concept that would combine high resolution stereo optical imaging with lidar measurements of ice topography and vegetation structure.

Moon

Moon

Communication

Lunar Relay Satellite (LRS) & Lunar Communications Terminal (LCT) (2007)

Lunar Relay Satellite and Lunar Communications Terminal

Provides full-time lunar communication, control, and navigation for safe lunar surface outposts and exploration.

LRS: Relays communications between lunar surface assets and the Earth. Provides navigation support for lunar orbiting assets (Orion & Lunar Lander) and surface assets. Two spacecraft operating in a 12 hour frozen elliptical lunar orbit.  Data throughput of 100 Mbps from habitat & LCT; 50 Mbps from other lunar surface using space-based router.

LCT: Serves as the communications node for lunar surface assets (Habitats, rovers, crew and science) and provides some navigational support.

Papers available on NTRS: Paper 1 and Paper 2.

 Lunar Network Satellite – High Rate (2008)

 Lunar Network Satellite

Spacecraft designed to relay lunar communications and provide navigation support for lunar surface missions including crew outpost, crew sorties, and robotic assets. Two spacecraft in a 24 hr inclined frozen elliptical lunar orbit.

Paper available on NTRS.

Landers and Landed Elements

Low-Cost Lunar Robotic Lander (2006)

Low-Cost Lunar Robotic Lander

Provides a low-cost (~$100 M) capability to place small payloads (~10s of kg) of science or technology demonstrators on the lunar surface. Provides a science payload capability of: 1 week, sunlit, global access, 25 W for 15 kg payload landed on lunar surface.

Paper available on NTRS.

Staged Descent Lunar Lander Concept (2006)

Staged Descent Lunar Lander Concept

The design that started it all! Compass’s first design delivers a crew of four astronauts to the lunar surface for either a 1-week sortie or 6-month outpost mission. Lunar Capture and Descent Stage (LCADS) used for lunar orbit insertion and 70% of descent burn. 3500 lbs of science and support delivered to lunar surface. Three RL-10 delivered LOx/LH2 engines for terminal descent/ascent.

In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Concentrator (2019)

In-Situ Resource Utilization Concentrator

A conceptual design for an ISRU system, delivered on a single lander, that produces and stores 10 tons of oxygen per year at the south pole of the moon for users landing 150 m away. Power is provided by a solar concentrator.

Lunar Kilopower Demonstrator (2018)

Lunar Kilopower Demonstrator

Demonstrates Kilopower technology on a lunar lander that performs an extended-duration lunar science mission addressing strategic NASA goals.

Lunar In-Situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) (2018)

An ISRU system to produce 6.7t of liquid oxygen per year at the south pole of the moon for users <1 km away.

Crewed Missions and Crewed Mission Support

Lunar Tanker (2018)

Lunar Tanker

A representative cryogenic tanker design (as a point design for future potential future commercial systems).

Lunar Depot (2019)

Lunar Depot

A representative cryogenic depot design to provide LOX/LCH4 propellants for lunar assets.

Lunar Ascent Vehicle (2018)

Lunar Ascent Vehicle

Lunar ascent vehicle to return crew to Gateway following lunar excursions.

Mars

Mars

Landers and Rovers

Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) Mars Geyser Hopper (2009)

Radioisotope Power Systems Mars Geyser Hopper

Design of a landed hopper, cruise deck, and aeroshell for transit and landing at the Martian South Pole. The Geyser Hopper is capable of one hop to investigate geysers. Geyser investigation science package includes cameras, a meteorology package, and MastCAM. Landing site science includes MARDI, LIDAR (laser-radar), and chemical analysis package.

Mars Hard Lander (2013)

Mars Hard Lander

RHU (Radioisotope Heating Unit) powered Mars Penetrator design. Demonstrates how RHU-RPS (Radioisotope Power Systems) systems can enable science investigations throughout the solar system.

3-D Printer Files

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Power for Piloted Mars Surface (2016)

Develop a solar power system to support fixed crewed Mars elements for expedition 1 (starting in 2038) with insights on use for expeditions 2 & 3 (total 12 year operations).

In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Power System Demonstrator (2015)

In-situ Resource Utilization Power System Demonstrator

Power System Point Design for a Mars ISRU demonstrator potentially launched as part of an Entry Descent and Landing demonstrator.  ISRU plant operates 10 hours per day at the equator and produces & stores 1500 kg of liquid oxygen in 1200 days (accounting for a 20 day dust storm outage).

Crewed

Human Exploration using Real-time Robotic Explorations (HERRO) – Crew Telerobotic Control Vehicle (CTCV) (2009)

Transports crew to and from Mars and provide a telerobotics platform for controlling surface science telerobots from orbit. Provides artificial gravity (0.3 g) and radiation protection for crew during a 500 day orbital stay.  Using a 12-hour orbit, two shifts of scientists and teleoperators can explore each side of Mars during each Mars day. The Crew Telerobotic Control Vehicle (CTCV) controls truck and rockhounds (telerobotic geologists) remotely from orbit. Interface for an optional sample recover craft to rendezvous and return samples.

Piloted Mars Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) (2012)

Piloted Mars Solar Electric Propulsion

A crewed mission to deliver six crew from Earth-Moon L2 to an elliptical Mars orbit and back to Earth. Includes a 300 day stay in Mars orbit.

Piloted Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) (2012)

Piloted Nuclear Electric Propulsion

A crewed mission to deliver six crew in an NEP vehicle to and from Deimos. Includes a 400 day stay at Mars.

Mars Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP)-Chemical Human Architecture Team (HAT) (2015)

Mars Solar Electric Propulsion Chemical Human Architecture Team

SLS launched Hall Effect SEP-Chem Vehicle to deliver four crew from Lunar Distant Retrograde Orbit to an elliptical Mars Orbit. Includes 300 day stay at Mars.

Hybrid Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP)/Chemical Vehicle  (2017)

Hybrid Solar Electric Propulsion Chemical Vehicle

Launched on a single SLS, the 400 kW, Hall SEP-Chem Vehicle delivers four crew from Lunar Distant Retrograde Orbit to an elliptical 5 SOL Mars orbit and back to earth. Includes a 300day stay at Mars.

3-D Printer Files

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Hybrid Propulsion Stage (HPS) (2018) and variants

Launched on a single SLS, the 670 kW, Hybrid Propulsion stage delivers four crew from Lunar Distant Retrograde Orbit to an elliptical 5 SOL Mars orbit and back to earth over a 1060 day duration (including a 300 day stay at Mars). The vehicle can also be modified to instead deliver a 40 mt lander to Mars.

Various investigations, or “one-offs” were performed on this design, including:

HPS High Density Electronics Analysis (HIDEA) (2019)

Investigated the design effects of using high density electronics.

HPS LOXLH2 (2019)

Investigated trading our the solar electric propulsion for a liquid oxygen/ liquid hydrogen propulsion system.

HPS Nested Hall (2019)

Investigated trading out the baseline SEP thrusters with those provided by the NEXT-Step program.

HPS VASIMIR (2019)

Investigated trading out the baseline SEP thrusters with VASIMIR propulsion

Crewed Mission Support

High Delta-V Retrofit for Mars Cargo (HDR) (2015)

High Delta-V Retrofit for Mars Cargo

Combines a high power SEP module with a commercial Block 0.5 Asteroid Return Vehicle to deliver 42mt Mars landers and return chemical stages to Mars in under 1400 days (including spiral out).

Split Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP)/Chemical (2014)

Split Solar Electric Propulsion

Architecture that utilizes SEP Vehicles to deliver landers to Mars. Pre-positions the chemical return stage for a crewed mission.

3-D Printer Files

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Sample Return

In-situ Resource Utilization (ISRU) Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) Sample Return  (2016)

In-situ Resource Utilization Mars Ascent Vehicle Sample Return

Demonstrate an ISRU / Hybrid Propulsion design which enables a Mars Sample Return Mission. Uses previous Compass designs, coupled with ISRU.

3-D Printer Files

The following are the .stl files necessary to print ISRU MAV Sample Return on a 3D printer:

Mars Moon Sampler: Phobos/Deimos Lunar Lander (2008)

Phobos/Deimos Lunar Lander

Mission to determine the origins of Phobos and Deimos. Uses solar electric propulsion (SEP) to travel to the moons and back to Earth. The New Frontiers Class mission returns six surface and interior samples of the moons to the Earth, totaling 1 kg of material. Requires precision landing of the spacecraft on both moons. Returns the samples to Earth by releasing the science capsule during Earth flyby.

Mars Earth Return Vehicle (MERV) (2009)

Mars Earth Return Vehicle

Vehicle to rendezvous with a Martian sample in low Mars orbit and return it to Earth. Trades propulsion system options between all solar electric propulsion (SEP), SEP chemical, all chemical, and chemical/aerobraking. Completes a rendezvous with orbiting an Sample Collection Pod.

Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) (2010)

Mars Ascent Vehicle

The MAV will launch a Martian surface sample into Low Mars Orbit where the sample will await a ride home to Earth. The Mars ascent vehicle must be developed to survive a variety of conditions including the trans Mars journey, Martian entry descent and landing and the harsh Martian surface environments while maintaining the ability to deliver its payload to Low Mars Orbit. Delivered to Mars within a Mars Science Lab Cruise Deck and Aeroshell for transit to Mars, Aerobrake Capture, Entry/Decent/Landing (EDL). Mars Cruise Stage delivers SkyCrane with Lander/Rover/MAV to Mars. SkyCrane provides EDL to Mars surface. Elevator deployed on Mars Surface to Launch MAV.

Mars Ascent Vehicle (MAV) Spun Upper Stage (2012)

Mars Ascent Vehicle Spun Upper Stage

Designed to minimize the launch mass of the Mars Ascent Vehicle be using a simple spun second stage, which is inertially pointed by the first stage.

3-D Printer Files

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Jupiter

Jupiter

Europa Ice Sounder (EIS)- Discovery Mission (2010)

Europa Ice Sounder

Radar-equipped Jupiter orbiter performs flybys of Europa to sound the depth of the ice. The final science orbit has a 78 day period with flybys of Europa at periapsis.

Saturn

Saturn

Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) Stage (2007)

Solar Electric Propulsion Stage

SEP Stage to deliver a 2400 kg probe on a Saturn trajectory. Relies on the probe for guidance, navigation, and control, command and data handling, and communications.

Titan Saturn System Mission (TSSM): Various 

TSSM Fission Power System (FPS) (2014)

TSSM Fission Power System

Design Reference Mission based on the Titan Saturn System Mission from 2008. Modified to use a 1 kW fission power system.

TSSM Solar Power (2015)

TSSM Solar Power

Titan Saturn System Mission using a 80 kW (1AU) Flexible Array Solar Power System.

TSSM: Solar Power Concentrators (2018)

Two Titan Saturn System Mission designs, one using a flexible solar IMM power system and the other using a flexible 2X concentrator solar IMM power system.

Uranus

Uranus

Uranus Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) Stage (2010)

Uranus Solar Electric Propulsion Stage

SEP Stage to deliver a payload, being designed by the Applied Physics Laboratory, to Uranus.

Neptune

Neptune

Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) Delivery Vehicle (2020)

Nuclear Electric Propulsion Delivery Vehicle

NEP vehicle to deliver the Triton Hopper, conduct science and imaging of Neptune and Triton, and provide a communications relay from the Hopper back to Earth.

Ocean Worlds

Titan

Earth’s waters are teaming with life, so ocean worlds hold a special fascination for the science community. Compass is ready to explore their surfaces and depths.

Europa

Europa Ice Sounder (EIS)- Discovery Mission (2010)

Europa Ice Sounder

Radar-equipped Jupiter orbiter performs flybys of Europa to sound the depth of the ice. The final science orbit has a 78 day period with flybys of Europa at periapsis.

Europa Cryobot (also called Tunnelbot) (2018)

The cryobot enables sampling and analysis of liquid water from Europa’s oceans covered by the shallowest ice thickness, or in ice that has been in contact with the liquid oceans in the relatively recent past.

Titan

Titan Submarine (2014)

Titan submarine


Titans seas consist of liquid hydrocarbons as opposed to water and therefore provide insight into the history of organic compounds in our solar system. This submarine would be sent to Saturn’s moon Titan to explore its largest Northern Sea, Kraken Mare. This work was funded by NASA Innovative and Advanced Concepts (NIAC).

3-D Printer Files

The following are the .stl files necessary to print a Titan Submarine on a 3D printer:


Paper on NTRS.

Titan Turtle (2016)

Titan Turtle

Builds on the previous Titan Submarine design to autonomously explore extraterrestrial seas, especially Ligeia Mare and Kraken Mare.

3-D Printer Files

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 Fission Powered Lander for Titan  (2017)

Fission Powered Lander for Titan

Demonstrate a Titan Explorer Lander using a Kilopower reactor (500We) instead of plutonium systems.

Triton

Triton Hopper (2015)

Triton Hopper

A two year exploration of one of the solar systems coldest object using radioisotope power system for melting propellants, power and thermal support. Autonomously carry out detailed scientific investigations from pole to pole, including geysers by hopping from location to location.

Paper on NTRS.

3-D Printer Files

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Triton Hopper Phase II (2019)

Triton Hopper Phase 2

A continuation of the Triton Hopper study, this time using a heated Li block to augment the propulsion system while hopping!

Enceladus

Enceladus Radioisotope Power Systems (RPS) Smallsat  (2016)

Enceladus Radioisotope Power Systems Smallsat

A pair of RPS Smallsats to examine the geophysical and life supporting capability of Enceladus by scanning the south pole and analyzing water plumes.

3-D Printer Files

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Asteroids

Vesta

Near Earth Asteroid Sampler (NEARER) (2008)

Near Earth Asteroid Sampler

Solar electric propulsion enabled sample returns from two near Earth orbiting asteroids (Nereus and 1996 FG3) over a 7-year mission.

Fetch: Asteroid Return Solar Electric Propulsion (SEP) Stage (2011)

Fetch: Asteroid Return Solar Electric Propulsion

SEP Stage to rendezvous with and then capture an asteroid. Then returns the asteroid to LEO (Low Earth Orbit). This design, done with the Keck Institute, eventually turned into the Asteroid Rendezvous and Retrieval Mission (ARRM). After ARRM was canceled, much of the Fetch design was rolled into the Power and Propulsion Element (PPE)- the first element of Gateway!

3-D Printer Files

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Deep Space

Milky Way
Milky Way

Kuiper Belt Object Orbiter (KBOO) (2009)

Kuiper Belt Object Orbiter

Radioisotope Electric Propulsion (REP) orbiter to orbit Kuiper Belt Objects (KBOs). Trades of both REP power sources–ARTG (Advanced Radioisotope Thermal Generator) and ASRG (Advanced Stirling Radioisotope Generator) as well as trades on two KBO Targets–2001 GT322 and 2001 XH255.

Paper on NTRS.

Chiron Orbiter – Decadal Planning Mission (2010)

Chiron Orbiter

ASRG (Advanced Radioisotope Thermal Generator) powered, electric propulsion orbiter to conduct science investigations of Chiron.

Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) Centaur (2012)

Nuclear Electric Propulsion Centaur

Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NEP) mission to Centaur. The design investigates the breakpoint between radioisotope and fission powered systems.

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