Event Title

DICE: Mission Results from Over a Year of On-Orbit Operations

Session

Pre-Conference: CubeSat Developers' Workshop

SSC13-WK-10.pdf (2640 kB)
Presentation Slides

Abstract

Funded by the NSF CubeSat and NASA ELaNa programs, the DICE mission consists of two 1.5U CubeSats which were launched into an eccentric low Earth orbit on October 28, 2011. Each identical spacecraft carries two Langmuir probes to measure ionospheric in-situ plasma densities, electric field probes to measure in-situ DC and AC electric fields, and a magnetometer to measure in-situ DC and AC magnetic fields. The use of two identical CubeSat at slightly different orbiting velocities in nearly identical orbits permits the de-convolution of spatial and temporal ambiguities in the observations of the ionosphere from a moving platform. DICE has greatly advanced nano-satellite base mission capabilities, demonstrating constellation science and opening up a number of groundbreaking technologies to the CubeSat community. DICE has made many co-incident observations of ionospheric structure and is the first CubeSat mission to observe field-aligned currents in the ionosphere. In terms of spacecraft technology development, most notable has been the implementation of a multi-Mb/s downlink radio for use on regularly licensed government bands. This includes not only the design and implementation of the high-speed space to ground CadetU radio, but also the tools, facilities, and infrastructure to provide the ground tracking, communication link closure, and data acquisition and management on the ground. In this paper we will review the on-orbit performance of the DICE sensors and spacecraft and discuss future mission opportunities that DICE has laid the groundwork for.

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Aug 10th, 9:05 AM

DICE: Mission Results from Over a Year of On-Orbit Operations

Funded by the NSF CubeSat and NASA ELaNa programs, the DICE mission consists of two 1.5U CubeSats which were launched into an eccentric low Earth orbit on October 28, 2011. Each identical spacecraft carries two Langmuir probes to measure ionospheric in-situ plasma densities, electric field probes to measure in-situ DC and AC electric fields, and a magnetometer to measure in-situ DC and AC magnetic fields. The use of two identical CubeSat at slightly different orbiting velocities in nearly identical orbits permits the de-convolution of spatial and temporal ambiguities in the observations of the ionosphere from a moving platform. DICE has greatly advanced nano-satellite base mission capabilities, demonstrating constellation science and opening up a number of groundbreaking technologies to the CubeSat community. DICE has made many co-incident observations of ionospheric structure and is the first CubeSat mission to observe field-aligned currents in the ionosphere. In terms of spacecraft technology development, most notable has been the implementation of a multi-Mb/s downlink radio for use on regularly licensed government bands. This includes not only the design and implementation of the high-speed space to ground CadetU radio, but also the tools, facilities, and infrastructure to provide the ground tracking, communication link closure, and data acquisition and management on the ground. In this paper we will review the on-orbit performance of the DICE sensors and spacecraft and discuss future mission opportunities that DICE has laid the groundwork for.