The Space.com article In 2020, NASA Will Send Living Things to Deep Space for First Time Since Apollo describes (among other things) the BioSentinel spacecraft, and links to a NASA BioSentinel fact sheet which says:

The primary objective of BioSentinel is to develop a biosensor to detect and measure the impact of space radiation on living organisms over long durations beyond Low Earth Orbit (LEO). While progress identifying and characterizing biological radiation effects using Earth-based facilities has been significant, no terrestrial source can fully simulate the unique radiation environment encountered in deep space.


The spacecraft will be deployed from the second stage of the launch vehicle to a lunar fly-by trajectory, from which it will enter an Earth-like heliocentric orbit. After completing the lunar fly-by and spacecraft checkout, the science mission phase begins with the rehydration of the first set of two yeast-containing microfluidic cards. (emphasis added)

I assume that the spacecraft needs to get away from the Earth's magnetosphere in order to receive the proper amount and type of radiation for the experiment.

Question: Where will it go? Perhaps a halo orbit around Sun-Earth L2 which is arguably heliocentric, or will it decouple completely from Earth and drift away? If so, how far will it go by the end of the experiment?

I'm not too worried about communications, after all the MARCOs were also 6U cubesats and sent images and data from Mars, though they had special antennas to do so. But I'd like to understand the orbit better, and curious how much effort would be necessary to allow it to break free of Earth's gravity.

See also the 2015 Space.com article Tiny Cubesats Set to Explore Deep Space



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