10 08 24

MILANI

Protecting Earth From Asteroid Threats

A Mission for Planetary Defence

As the European Space Agency’s Hera Mission prepares for its journey to the Didymos double asteroid system in 2024, Tyvak’s selected spacecraft, MILANI, has been confirmed as operationally effective.

Hera is the European part of the Asteroid Impact & Deflection Assessment (AIDA) international collaboration with NASA who is responsible for the DART (Double Asteroid Redirection Test) kinetic impactor spacecraft. Hera objectives are to investigate the Didymos binary asteroid, including the very first assessment of its internal properties, and to measure in detail the outcome of NASA’s DART mission kinetic impactor test. Hera will provide extremely valuable information for future asteroid deflection missions and science; increasing our understanding of asteroid geophysics as well as solar system formation and evolutionary processes.

MILANI is a 6U nanosatellite specifically created for the European Space Agency by Tyvak International in Torino, together with a consortium of partner companies, universities, and research institutes from Italy, Finland, and the Czech Republic. MILANI was appropriately named after the Italian mathematician and astronomer Andrea Milani, a leading figure in Europe’s space science community, and a pioneer of asteroid risk analysis. 

In a launch scheduled for 2024, MILANI will be carried by the HERA mothercraft and will take +2 years to travel from Low Earth Orbit to the Didymos binary system of asteroids. Expected to reach the asteroids in late 2026, MILANI will be deployed to enhance the scientific return of the mission.

Its main instrument will be the ASPECT hyperspectral imager (developed by VTT, Finland), combining visible and near infrared wavelengths to survey the asteroid surface down to a maximum spatial resolution of 1 m. It will also carry VISTA (developed by INAF, Italy) a dust detector devoted to detecting the presence of dust particles smaller than 5-10 µm, volatiles and light organics characterization, and monitoring the molecular contamination in the surrounding of MILANI. 

Main scientific objectives: 

  • Map the global composition of the Didymos asteroids 
  • Characterize the surface of the Didymos asteroids 
  • Evaluate DART impacts effects on Didymos asteroids and support gravity field determination 
  • Characterize dust clouds around the Didymos asteroid, enhancing the scientific return of the whole HERA mission. 

Nation

Europe

Application

Planetary Defence

Operator

European Space Agency

Configuration

6U NanoSatellite

Launch Date

October 8, 2024

Launch Vehicle

SPACE X FALCON-9

Mission Length

N/A

Mission Completion

N/A

Follow Us