Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Three FASTSAT instruments pass tests

Date:
March 11, 2010
Source:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center
Summary:
The outer layers of Earth's atmosphere hold many secrets yet to be uncovered and three scientific instruments will fly soon on the FASTSAT-HSV01 satellite and seek to uncover them to benefit us here on Earth. Known as MINI-ME, PISA and TTI, these instruments recently passed a series of important final tests to prove their readiness for spaceflight.

MINI-ME, acronym for Miniature Imager for Neutral Ionospheric atoms and Magnetospheric Electrons, is a low energy neutral atom imager which will detect neutral atoms formed in the plasma population of the Earth's outer atmosphere to improve global space weather prediction.
Credit: NASA

The outer layers of Earth's atmosphere hold many secrets yet to be uncovered and three scientific instruments will fly soon on the FASTSAT-HSV01 satellite and seek to uncover them to benefit us here on Earth. Known as MINI-ME, PISA and TTI, these instruments recently passed a series of important final tests to prove their readiness for spaceflight.

Related Articles


These instruments were conceived and built at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md., and were integrated to the satellite and tested at NASA's Marshall Spaceflight Center, Huntsville, Ala.

MINI-ME, acronym for Miniature Imager for Neutral Ionospheric atoms and Magnetospheric Electrons, is a low energy neutral atom imager which will detect neutral atoms formed in the plasma population of the Earth's outer atmosphere to improve global space weather prediction. Low energy neutral atom imaging is a technique first pioneered at Goddard which allows scientists to observe remotely various trapped charged particle populations around Earth that we would normally only be able to observe in-situ through direct instrument contact with the particles.

Michael Collier, Principal Investigator for the MINI-ME instrument at NASA Goddard said, "The satellite has gone through vibration, thermal, and Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) tests and everything looks great. The MINI-ME instrument is performing as expected."

PISA is an acronym for the Plasma Impedance Spectrum Analyzer, which will test a new measurement technique for the thermal electron populations in the ionosphere, and their density structuring, which can interfere with or scatter radio signals used for communication and navigation. PISA will tell scientists on Earth when and where the ionosphere becomes structured or turbulent. That will give us better predictions of how space weather will affect GPS signals.

Doug Rowland, PISA's Principal Investigator at NASA Goddard said, "PISA has completed the same tests that the Mini-ME endured and has just passed powered Electromagnetic Interference Test. PISA is on track for spacecraft to be packed up and delivered to the launch site." The EMI, vibration and thermal testing are critical tests for all instruments and satellites before they're loaded aboard a rocket and put into orbit.

The Thermospheric Temperature Imager, or TTI, will provide the first global-scale measurements of thermospheric temperature profiles in the 56-168 mile (90-270 km) region of the Earth's atmosphere. The temperature profile sets the scale height of the thermosphere which determines the density at orbital altitudes and therefore the aerodynamic drag experienced by military spacecraft.

John Sigwarth, TTI's Principal Investigator at NASA Goddard, said "The TTI survived the satellite launch vibration levels, being blasted with radio waves, and the TTI had a great thermal vacuum test. We were able to characterize the operation of the instrument in space-like environments and the TTI is ready for launch. We are eagerly anticipating obtaining great data from orbit."

Electromagnetic Interference or EMI testing is done to ensure that powerful ground-based communications and radar systems do not cause interference on the satellite or instrument systems.

Vibration testing is an important part of the testing process, because when the rocket carrying the satellite lifts off and travels through Earth's atmosphere it experiences intense vibrations. Successful vibration testing assures scientists and engineers that their instrument will remain intact and fully functional after launch.

Thermal testing is also critical, because of the extreme temperatures in space. Scientists need to be sure that the instruments will maintain function at extreme temperatures, from the extreme heat the rocket carrying the satellite will experience during launch and when it travels through Earth's atmosphere into the cold void of space.

"With the completion of the last phase of environmental testing of the integrated FASTSAT-HSV01 spacecraft, our team is focused on readying the satellite and its six science and technology instruments, for its near term shipment to Kodiak, Alaska, and for an on time launch no earlier than May 28, 2010," said FASTSAT Project Manager Mark Boudreaux at NASA Marshall.

"FASTSAT-HSV" means "Fast, Affordable, Science and Technology Satellite, Huntsville" The development, integration, test and operations of the three instruments is a collaborative effort between NASA Goddard, NASA Marshall, and the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, Md.

FASTSAT-HSV01 will be flying a total of six instruments approved by the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Space Experiments Review Board multi-spacecraft/payload mission named STP-S26, which is executed by the DoD Space Test Program (STP) at the Space Development and Test Wing (SDTW), Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. which is a unit of the Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center. The mission was designated S26 to correspond to the 26th small launch vehicle mission in STP's more than 40 year history of flying DoD space experiments. The mission will launch four satellites and three cubesats into low earth orbit.

The satellite was created at NASA Marshall with the Von Braun Center for Science and Innovation, in partnership with Dynetics, a corporate partner.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "Three FASTSAT instruments pass tests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 March 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311175047.htm>.
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. (2010, March 11). Three FASTSAT instruments pass tests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311175047.htm
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center. "Three FASTSAT instruments pass tests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100311175047.htm (accessed November 28, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Earth & Climate News

Friday, November 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Japan's Mt. Aso Volcano Spews Rocks

Raw: Japan's Mt. Aso Volcano Spews Rocks

AP (Nov. 28, 2014) — A volcano in southern Japan is spewing volcanic magma rocks. A regional weather observatory says this could be Mt. Aso's first magma eruption in 22 years. (Nov. 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Scientists Find Invisible Space Shield Protecting Earth

Newsy (Nov. 27, 2014) — An invisible barrier is keeping dangerous super fast electrons from interfering with our atmosphere, but scientists aren't entirely sure how. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Bolivian Recycling Initiative Turns Plastic Waste Into School Furniture

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Nov. 26, 2014) — Innovative recycling project in La Paz separates city waste and converts plastic garbage into school furniture made from 'plastiwood'. Tara Cleary reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Blu-Ray Discs Getting Second Run As Solar Panels

Newsy (Nov. 26, 2014) — Researchers at Northwestern University are repurposing Blu-ray movies for better solar panel technology thanks to the discs' internal structures. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins