Electric-field Instrument for CubeSats

Period of Performance: 01/29/2013 - 04/27/2015

$750K

Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Atmospheric & Space Technology Research
5777 Central Avenue, Suite 221
Boulder, CO 80301
Principal Investigator

Abstract

ABSTRACT: The ionosphere has significant effects on DoD radio systems. The Air Force needs electric field measurements in order to nowcast and forecast ionospheric behavior. SBIR Topic AF112-083 Electric Field Instrument for Cube- or Nano-sized Satellites called for the development of a cubesat- or nanosat-scale Direct Current Electrical Field instrument for measuring high precision electric fields at both high and low inclination Low Earth Orbit orbits. In Phase-I we developed a conceptual design for a miniature, low-cost, lightweight, high sensitivity E-field instrument using the double probe technique to provide in-situ measurements of ionospheric E-fields. The name of the new instrument is DIME (Double-probe Instrumentation for Measuring E-fields). The work proposed for Phase-II is to build technology that demonstrates the Phase-I design . Specifically, we will build the new DIME instrument, based on our Phase-I designs, and integrate it into a candidate flight CubeSat. We propose to deliver an almost complete CubeSat bus containing the DIME E-field instrument, together with two Langmuir Probes and a magnetometer, which if flown will raise the TRL level of the DIME instrument to 9. The Phase-II proposal team consists of key members of the same team that developed and flew the DICE mission, which launched October 2011. BENEFIT: The ionospheric electric field is a key parameter required by the IORD. The DIME (Double-probe Instrumentation for Measuring E-fields) instrument is a miniature, low-cost, lightweight, high sensitivity E-field instrument using the double probe technique to provide in-situ measurements of ionospheric E-fields. It is suitable for many satellite buses including Cubesats.