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LICIACube: Physical Properties of (65803) Didymos

Presentation #113.05 in the session “Didymos: Throwing DARTs”.

Published onOct 03, 2021
LICIACube: Physical Properties of (65803) Didymos

“LICIACube – the Light Italian Cubesat for Imaging of Asteroids” [1] is managed by the Italian Space Agency (ASI) and will be part of the NASA mission DART [2].

LICIACube will be launched with DART at the end of 2021, hosted as piggyback during the interplanetary cruise, and released 10 days before the DART impact on Dimorphos, the secondary member of the binary asteroid (65803) Didymos. LICIACube will be equipped with two optical cameras: LEIA (Liciacube Explorer Imaging for Asteroid), a narrow FoV camera that will be used for autonomous navigation and science, and LUKE (Liciacube Unit Key Explorer), a wide FoV imager with a RGB Bayer pattern filter.

After the release from the DART spacecraft, LICIACube will be autonomously guided to a fast fly-by with the target, reaching a minimum distance of about 55 km. Several images will be collected and transmitted to Earth with the aim to document the DART impact’s effects on Dimorphos and to perform dedicated scientific investigation of the target.

Acknowledgements: We acknowledge financial support from Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI, contract No. 2019-31-HH.0 CUP F84I190012600).


[1] Cheng, A. F., et al. (2018) Plan. Space Sci., 157, 104.

[2] Dotto, E., et al. (2021) Plan. Space Sci., 199, id. 105185.

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