UNH Will Provide Instruments for Upcoming ESA and JAXA Satellite Missions

UNH Will Provide Instruments for Upcoming ESA and JAXA Satellite Missions

Oct 26, 2011

Scientists and engineers from the UNH Space Science Center (SSC) have been selected to provide instruments for two upcoming satellite missions led by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).

The successful proposals draw upon the long history of work done at UNH for other satellite missions, including NASA’s Solar-Terrestrial Observatory (STEREO) that was launched five years ago.

The ESA Solar Orbiter mission will carry the Heavy Ion Sensor, which includes an ion composition telescope being built at UNH by a team led by research professor Antoinette Galvin of the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space (EOS) and the department of physics.  Solar Orbiter will venture closer to the Sun than any previous mission. It is designed to make major breakthroughs in our understanding of how the Sun influences its environment, in particular how it generates and propels the flow of particles, known as the solar wind, in which the planets are
bathed. Launch is slated for January 2017.

For the JAXA “cross Scale COupling in Plasma universE” or SCOPE mission, a team led by professor Lynn Kistler was selected to proceed with an 11-month mission concept study for UNH’s Ion Mass Spectrum Analyzer (IMSA), which also draws on historical work done at UNH, such as the CODIF (composition distribution function) instrument developed for the ESA Cluster satellite mission. SCOPE will investigate fundamental physical processes that are key to understanding the functioning of the Earth’s magnetosphere, as well as what drives solar flares, radio galaxy jets, supernovae remnants, and cosmic rays. The mission will put five formation flight spacecraft into the key regions of the magnetosphere.

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