Design, fabrication, and implementation of the energetic particle integrating space environment monitor instrument
Gunderson, Adam Kristopher
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The ability to simultaneously monitor spatial and temporal variations in penetrating radiation above the atmosphere is important for understanding both the near Earth radiation environment and as input for developing more accurate space weather models. These models currently lack high resolution multi-point measurements to accurately portray the spatial and temporal variability of the radiation belts. To obtain data that may uncover the small-scale spatio-temporal variability of the areas around the planet known as the Van Allen Radiation Belts measurements must be made across a distributed array of satellites. The most recent decadal survey on solar and space physics states that the CubeSat platform is ideal for making these type of measurements . The Energetic Particle Integrating Space Environment monitor instrument (EPISEM) will launch aboard eight CubeSat's as a part of the Edison Demonstration of Smallsat Networks (EDSN) mission. By being distributed across a geographically dispersed area, EPISEM will help fill the data gap by measuring the location and intensity of energetic charged particles simultaneously. This research describes the fabrication approach of the miniaturized radiation detection instrument aboard the EPISEM instrument and operational considerations unique to missions using many identical spacecraft and instruments. The EPISEM payload was specifically designed for CubeSats; leveraging heritage from the payload operating aboard Montana State University's Hiscock Radiation Belt Explorer (HRBE), launched in October 2011. The EDSN project is based at NASAs Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, and is funded by the Small Spacecraft Technology Program (SSTP) in NASAs Office of the Chief Technologist (OCT) at NASA Headquarters, Washington. The EDSN satellites are planned to fly late 2014 as secondary payloads on a DoD Operationally Responsive Space (ORS) mission that will launch into space from Kauai, Hawaii on a Super Strypi launch vehicle. The EPISEM payload was designed, built, tested, and delivered to NASA Ames by the Space Science and Engineering Laboratory at Montana State University.