Explorer is designed to do something no spacecraft has done to date: use its own propulsion system to go from low Earth orbit to an Earth departure trajectory. We designed this spacecraft to take advantage of the relatively low cost and high availability of commercial rideshare launches to low Earth orbit. With this capability, we enable many exploration and high delta-V applications from geosynchronous orbit, to near-Earth asteroids, to destinations as far away as Mars.
The ESPA sized Explorer can give a 10 to 30 kg payload a delta-V capability of approximately 4 to 5 km/s, taking it from low Earth orbit into interplanetary space. It then provides all of the services a stand-alone mission requires, including deep space communications, navigation, attitude control, thermal control, and substantial payload power. For maneuvering close to celestial objects, Explorer’s Reaction Control System offers full six degree of freedom propulsive maneuvers.