The Comet Nucleus Tour (CONTOUR) is a low-cost NASA Discovery mission designed to conduct three close flybys of comet nuclei. Selected configuration tradeoffs conducted to balance science requirements with low mission cost are reviewed. The tradeoffs discussed focus on the optical instruments and related spacecraft considerations. Two instruments are under development. The CONTOUR Forward Imager (CFI) is designed to perform optical navigation, moderate resolution nucleus/jet imaging, and imaging of faint molecular emission bands in the coma. The CONTOUR Remote Imager and Spectrometer (CRISP) is designed to obtain high-resolution multispectral images of the nucleus, conduct spectral mapping of the nucleus surface, and provide a backup optical navigation capability. Tradeoffs discussed are: (1) the impact on the optical instruments of not using reaction wheels on the spacecraft, (2) the improved performance and simplification gained by implementing a dedicated star tracker instead of including this function in CFI, (3) the improved flexibility and robustness of switching to a low frame rate tracker for CRISP, (4) the improved performance and simplification of replacing a visible imaging spectrometer by enhanced multispectral imaging in CRISP, and (5) the impact on spacecraft resources of these and other tradeoffs. © 2002 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.
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