E-field Instrument for CubeSats
ABSTRACT: The Air Force and other DoD components require accurate knowledge of the ionospheric environment to understand and predict its impacts on vital radio-based systems, including communications, navigation, and surveillance systems. In response to the STTR Topic AF112-083 we propose to develop a conceptual design for a miniature, low-cost, lightweight, high sensitivity electric field instrument using the double probe technique to provide in-situ measurements of ionospheric electric fields. Our focus will be on developing a new electric field sensor that meets or exceeds the performance of SSIES, yet has significantly smaller mass and power requirements such that it can fly on CubeSats or nano-satellites. The new design will also be Space Plug-and-Play Avionics (SPA) compatible. The name of the new instrument is DIME (Double-probe Instrumentation for Measuring E-fields). DIME will draw heavily from the lessons learned in developing the electric field instrument for the DICE mission. It also benefits from ASTRA"s experience with Space Plug-n-Play Avionics (SPA). BENEFIT: The DIME (Double-probe Instrumentation for Measuring E-fields) sensor is a new electric field sensor that meets or exceeds the performance of SSIES, yet has significantly smaller mass and power requirements such that it can fly on CubeSats or nano-satellites. The new design will also be Space Plug-and-Play Avionics (SPA) compatible, so it can contribute to the efforts that are underway to develop complete PnP satellite systems built on a SPA backbone using SPA components. It is suitable for mass-production, and is expected to populate the fleets of CubeSats that are expected to fly in the near-future. Small size and low operating power enable the DIME sensor to fly on any spacecraft from the smallest (CubeSat) to the largest.
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Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates
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