Encyclopedia Astronautica

European lunar orbiter. One launch, 2003.09.27, Insat 3E. ESA's SMART-1 was to test miniaturization technology while exploring the Moon from orbit.

It was to be the first space probe ESA ever sent to the Moon and was to also be the first of ESA's missions to test advanced technology needed for future scientific planetary missions. It would use ion propulsion to maneuver from a geosynchronous transfer orbit to an elliptical lunar orbit over a sixteen month period.

SMART-1 was to test solar electric propulsion and other deep-space technologies, while performing scientific observations of the Moon. Among other investigations, it was to investigate the origin of the Moon and search for ice in the craters at the Moon's south pole. SMART was the abbreviation for Small Missions for Advanced Research and Technology.


  • Spacecraft Prime contractor: Swedish Space Corporation, Solna, Sweden
  • Launcher: Ariane-5 (SMART-1 was a secondary payload)
  • Launch mass: 366.5 kilograms
  • Dimensions: 1 cubic meter
  • Instruments

    • EPDP - To monitor the working of the propulsion system and its effects on the spacecraft - G. Noci, Laben Proel, Italy
    • SPEDE - To also monitor the effect of the propulsion system and to investigate the electrical environment of the Earth-Moon space - W. Schmidt, FMI, Finland - -
    • KaTE - To test more efficient communication techniques with Earth - D. Heuer, Astrium GmbH, Germany
    • RSWAS - Was to use the KaTE and AMIE instruments to investigate the way the Moon wobbles - L. Iess, University of Rome, Italy
    • OBAN - Software to allow the spaceprobe to guide itself to the Moon - F. Ankersen, ESA
    • AMIE - To test a miniaturized camera and take color images of the Moon surface - J. Josset, CSEM, Switzerland
    • SIR - To search for ice and make a mineralogical mapping of the Moon - U. Keller, Max Planck Institute fuer Aeronomie, Germany
    • D-CIXS - To investigate the composition of the Moon - M. Grande, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, United Kingdom
    • XSM - To calibrate the D-CIXS data and study solar X-ray emission - J. Huovenin, University of Helsinki Observatory, Finland

  • Orbit: 16-month transfer orbit from Earth to the Moon. The final operational science orbit was a polar elliptical orbit, ranging from 300 kilometers to 10 000 kilometers above the Moon.
  • Mission Operations Centre (MOC) - ESOC, Darmstadt, Germany
  • Science and Technology Operations Coordination (STOC) - ESTEC, Noordwijk, The Netherlands
  • Foreseen operational duration: 2-2.5 years
  • Costs: 100 million euros at 2001 economic conditions (including launch, operations and part of the payload)

First Launch: 2003.09.27.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...

Associated Countries
See also
  • Ariane 5 The Ariane 5 was a completely new design, unrelated to the earlier Ariane 1 to 4. It consisted of a single-engine Lox/LH2 core stage flanked by two solid rocket boosters. Preparatory work began in 1984. Full scale development began in 1988 and cost $ 8 billion. The design was sized for the Hermes manned spaceplane, later cancelled. This resulted in the booster being a bit too large for the main commercial payload, geosynchronous communications satellites. As a result, development of an uprated version capable of launching two such satellites at a time was funded in 2000. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Ariane 5G French orbital launch vehicle. Initial version of the Ariane 5, a bit too large for the main commercial geosynchronous communications satellite payloads. More...

  • NASA Report, The SMART-1 Mission, Web Address when accessed: here.
  • NASA Report, SMART-1 mission, technologies and science: With Solar Power to the Moon, Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Kourou After the agreement with newly independent Algeria for France to evacuate their launch sites in that country, a location near Biscarosse was selected for French missile testing. However since only launches westwards across the Bay of Biscay could be made from this site, it was unsuitable for France's Diamant orbital launch vehicle. After reviewing 14 potential sites, a location in the South American French colony of Guiana was selected. This would allow over-water launches to a tremendous range of possible orbital inclinations -- from -100.5 deg to 1.5 deg. Being near the equator, it would provide the maximum assist from the earth's rotation for launches into equatorial orbits. The decision was formalized in April 1964 and in July 1966 ELDO chose the site for future launches of the Europa II launch vehicle. More...

SMART-1 Chronology

2003 September 27 - . Launch Site: Kourou. Launch Complex: Kourou ELA3. LV Family: Ariane 5. Launch Vehicle: Ariane 5G. LV Configuration: Ariane 5G V162.
  • SMART-1 - . Mass: 370 kg (810 lb). Nation: Europe. Agency: ESA. Class: Technology. Type: Space probe technology. Spacecraft: SMART-1. USAF Sat Cat: 27951 . COSPAR: 2003-043x. Apogee: 35,803 km (22,246 mi). Perigee: 35,769 km (22,225 mi). Inclination: 0.0900 deg. Period: 1,436.06 min. European Space Agency satellite which was to use ion drive and gravity assists to reach lunar orbit. The spacecraft made its third lunar resonance gravity assist on October 12, 2004. The continued gravitational effect of the Moon resulted in lunar capture on November 15, 2004,, when SMART-1 entered a 4962 x 51,477 km orbit around the Moon inclined at 81 degrees to the lunar equator.

2003 September 30 - .
  • SMART-1, Ion Engine Turn On, Successful - . Nation: Europe. Spacecraft: SMART-1.

2004 November 15 - .
  • SMART-1, Moon Orbit Insertion, Successful - . Nation: Europe. Spacecraft: SMART-1.

2005 August 1 - .
  • SMART-1, End of Primary Mission - . Nation: Europe. Spacecraft: SMART-1.

2006 August 1 - .
  • SMART-1, End of Extended Mission - . Nation: USA. Spacecraft: SMART-1.

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