Systems Design of MARIO: Stand-Alone 16U CubeSat from Earth to Mars

Karthik Mani, AS Casado, V Franzese, Francesco Topputo, Angelo Cervone

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientific


Mars Atmospheric Radiation Imaging Orbiter (MARIO) is a 16U stand-alone CubeSat mission that shall escape Earth, perform autonomous deep-space cruise, achieve ballistic capture, and enter an operational orbit at Mars to perform thermal radiation imaging. This work focuses on the systems design of MARIO. The design of combined chemical-electric propulsion systems, comprising FLP-106 based green chemical monopropellant thruster and the iodine-fueled RF ion thruster, for hybrid high-thrust-low-thrust Earth-Mars transfer is presented. Reflectarrays along with high-gain antennas are utilised to establish long-distance low-bandwidth X-band communication link with the Earth. Electrical power system design is pursued to provide steady power to the system during the transfer and science operations phases. A novel autonomous navigation strategy is proposed which includes horizon-based optical navigation near target bodies and deep-space line-of-sight navigation for accurate state estimation for autonomous operations. Details regarding on-board processing, attitude determination, and thermal control are delineated. Feasible budgets for mass and communications link are obtained. The structural composition of MARIO is detailed.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIAF 70th International Astronautical Congress
Number of pages16
Publication statusPublished - 2019
Event70th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2019 - Washington, United States
Duration: 21 Oct 201925 Oct 2019
Conference number: 70

Publication series

NameProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
PublisherInternational Astronautical Federation, IAF
ISSN (Print)0074-1795


Conference70th International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2019
Abbreviated titleIAC 2019
CountryUnited States
OtherThe proceedings will be provided to all participants on
the first day of the Congress.
Internet address

Bibliographical note

The proceedings will be provided to all participants on
the first day of the Congress.


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