Titan Saturn System Mission (TSSM)
TSSM Flight System
The orbiter is a three-axis-stabilized spacecraft. The flight system includes an articulated 4 meter high gain antenna using 35-watt RF Ka-band traveling-wave-tube amplifiers for high-rate science data downlink. Accommodation is provided for the two in situ elements (the montgolfière and the lake lander) at attach points along the body of the spacecraft. Five radisotope power systems (either advanced Stirling radioisotope generators or multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generators) would power the spacecraft, providing about 540 watts of electrical power at end of mission. The launch mass of the flight system, including the full ESA in situ payload and contingency, is 6187 kilograms with respect to the Atlas V 551 capability of 6259 kilograms to the required launch energy.
Planning Payload Instrument Layout
Six instruments are included in the planning payload for the orbiter, in addition to the Radio Science investigations that would be performed with existing orbiter telecom and attitude control subsystem equipment. Locations were carefully chosen to ensure clear fields of view for instruments and radiators.
The model instrument descriptions were developed to show proof of concept and are not intended to be either final selections or final implementations. Alternative instrument concepts and techniques that meet the mission objectives will be selected through a NASA/ESA coordinated Announcement of Opportunity process to meet the mission objectives.
Montgolfiere In Situ Element:
ESA will provide the montgolfière hot air balloon for exploration of Titan from a nominal altitude of 10,000 meters. Buoyancy would be provided by the thermal output of an integral multi-mission radioisotope thermoelectric generator, enabling the montgolfière to circle the globe over the course of its mission, drifting with Titan’s winds to provide atmospheric and surface science data.
- Balloon: 10.5 m diameter (~130 kg); heating by MMRTG
- Balloon to be provided by CNES
- Gondola: 144 kg, incl. 21.5 kg instrumentation
- Power generation by MMRTG (100 Wel)
- Floating altitude 10 km; only altitude control
- Prime mission 6 months (+6 months extended)
- At least one Titan circumnavigation
Montgolfiere Planning Payload
Lander In Situ Element:
ESA will provide the lake lander which will capture detailed atmospheric measurements during descent and surface analysis while floating on a Titan lake. The battery-powered lander would be targeted to Kraken Mare, one of two large methane seas discovered by Cassini at Titan’s high northern latitudes.
- Landed mass 85 kg, including 23 kg instrumentation
- Target: Kraken Mare (72°N)—floating capability
- Battery powered
- Lifetime: 6 hours descent and 3 hours on surface
- Delivery on 2nd Titan flyby—orbiter in close vicinity
Lander Planning Payload
Learn more about TSSM Development Plans