We often overlook the complexities associated with planning a mission in space, especially an interplanetary mission. So many factors affect one another, where do you start?
- How close is Earth to the planet we want to visit?
- How long will it take to develop the systems (scientific, navigational, propulsion, software, etc) we'll fly on the spacecraft?
- Where do we find the people and the skills to tackle all the problems we'll encounter building it?
- Who will pay for it?
- What launch vehicle can we use? Will it be custom built, or an existing solution?
- What is the maximum weight we can send?
- What sacrifices can we make due to weight/size constraints, yet still accomplish our mission?
- What happens if we miss our launch window?
- Who will talk to our spacecraft and receive it's signals when it is in space?
This is just a small list of the many items that affect a mission from the beginning.
Some of the points we want to focus on are mission constraints such as weight, size and hardware...