92nd American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting (January 22-26, 2012)

Monday, 23 January 2012
Dynamic Ionosphere Cubesat Experiment (DICE)
Hall E (New Orleans Convention Center )
Geoff Crowley, Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates, Boulder, CO; and C. Fish, C. Swenson, A. Barjatya, I. Azeem, G. S. Bust, F. Rodrigues, and M. Larsen

The US Cubesat community is quite strong, and Cubesat programs are expanding in a number of different venues and mission types. From a relatively simple hobbyist approach, Cubesat technology has grown to a level of complexity that promises to eventually challenge standard satellite concepts and performance. We provide a brief overview of several diverse Cubesat applications, technologies, and missions, with a focus on the new NSF Cubesat program, and especially the Dynamic Ionosphere Cubesat Experiment (DICE).

The DICE mission has been selected for flight under the NSF "CubeSat-based Science Mission for Space Weather and Atmospheric Research" program. The mission has three scientific objectives: (1) Investigate the physical processes responsible for formation of the midlatitude ionospheric Storm Enhanced Density (SED) bulge in the noon to post-noon sector during magnetic storms; (2) Investigate the physical processes responsible for the formation of the SED plume at the base of the SED bulge and the transport of the high density SED plume across the magnetic pole; (3) Investigate the relationship between penetration electric fields and the formation and evolution of SED.

The mission consists of two identical Cubesats launched simultaneously. Each satellite carries a fixed-bias DC Langmuir Probe (DCP) to measure in-situ ionospheric plasma densities, and an Electric Field Probe (EFP) to measure DC and AC electric fields. These measurements will permit accurate identification of storm-time features such as the SED bulge and plume, together with simultaneous co-located electric field measurements which have previously been missing. The mission team combines expertise from ASTRA, Utah State University/Space Dynamics Laboratory (USU/SDL), Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and Clemson University.

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