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Miniature Space Weather Sensors for Pico and Nano Satellites Utah State University/NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Space Technology and Science Mission Directorates

Students and professionals from Utah State University prepared and flew a miniaturized space weather sensor on a NASA high altitude balloon on August 24, 2014. The sensor observes the faint chemical glow given off by oxygen atoms high (90 to 130 km) in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. By sensing the slight Doppler shift of the spectral line both the winds and temperatures of the upper atmosphere can be detected. The test was supported by the EPSCoR Miniature Space Weather Sensors for Pico and Nano Satellites grant being conducted that the Utah State Center for Space Engineering. The high altitude balloon flight lasted approximately 12 hours and demonstrated the basic functionality of the Split Etalon Doppler Interferometer, which is being developed for future NASA nanosatellite constellation missions. This is the same class of instrument which has flown previous on the NASA UARS and TIMED mission but reduced in size by a factor of 10 such that it can fit within a satellite that is about the size of a loaf of bread. Students integrated the Interferometer into a balloon payload along with star and sun cameras and control electronics. A report on the mission and data results were presented in December at the 2014 AGU conference in San Francisco where two USU students, Landon Terry and Preston Hooser were presented an “Outstanding Student Paper Award” for their work on the project.

An exploded model of the Red Line Air Glow Sensor and supporting instrumentation.

Dr. Lawrence Kepko, NASA Technical Monitor, GSFC, STMD, SMD

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NASA EPSCoR Stimuli 2014 -15

Charles Swenson, Science PI, Utah State University

EPSCoR Stimuli 2014-15  

NASA Office of Education’s Aerospace Research & Career Development (ARCD) is pleased to release NASA EPSCoR Stimuli, a collection of univers...

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