Event Title

The Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment (CSSWE) On-Orbit Performance

Session

Pre-Conference: CubeSat Developers' Workshop

SSC13-WK-11.pdf (5469 kB)
Presentation Slides

Abstract

The Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment is a 3-unit (10cm x 10cm x 30cm) CubeSat funded by the National Science Foundation and constructed at the University of Colorado (CU). The CSSWE science instrument, the Relativistic Electron and Proton Telescope integrated little experiment (REPTile), provides directional differential flux measurements of 0.5 to >3.3 MeV electrons and 9 to 40 MeV protons. Though a collaboration of 60+ multidisciplinary graduate and undergraduate students working with CU professors and engineers at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), CSSWE was designed, built, tested, and delivered in 3 years. On September 13, 2012, CSSWE was inserted to a 477 x 780 km, 65° orbit as a secondary payload on an Atlas V through the NASA Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) program. The first successful contact with CSSWE was made within a few hours of launch. CSSWE then completed a 20 day system commissioning phase which validated the performance of the communications, power, and attitude control systems. This was immediately followed by an accelerated 24 hour REPTile commissioning period in time for a geomagnetic storm. The high quality, low noise science data return from REPTile is complementary to the NASA Van Allen Probes mission, which launched two weeks prior to CSSWE. On January 5, 2013, CSSWE completed 90 days of on-orbit science operations, achieving the baseline goal for full mission success. As the CubeSat continues to operate in its extended mission phase, the CSSWE team is working to understand and validate our design with on-orbit data. The power, data, and link budgets estimated prior to launch are found to be an accurate estimate of the on-orbit performance. Satellite interior temperatures are found to remain within their design range, even during periods of multi-week long insolation. However, not all systems have behaved as expected; an on-orbit anomaly occurred ten days after science operations began. An additional innovation is autonomous satellite operation, enabling uplink and downlink during all 8+ CSSWE passes per day and increasing monitoring capability. This was implemented in December to accommodate the lack of student operators over the holiday break and has been exceptionally beneficial. The student-led CSSWE team has grown in experience and knowledge throughout design, build, test, delivery, launch and operations of this small satellite. An overview of the CSSWE system, on-orbit performance and lessons learned will be presented.

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Aug 10th, 9:10 AM

The Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment (CSSWE) On-Orbit Performance

The Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment is a 3-unit (10cm x 10cm x 30cm) CubeSat funded by the National Science Foundation and constructed at the University of Colorado (CU). The CSSWE science instrument, the Relativistic Electron and Proton Telescope integrated little experiment (REPTile), provides directional differential flux measurements of 0.5 to >3.3 MeV electrons and 9 to 40 MeV protons. Though a collaboration of 60+ multidisciplinary graduate and undergraduate students working with CU professors and engineers at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), CSSWE was designed, built, tested, and delivered in 3 years. On September 13, 2012, CSSWE was inserted to a 477 x 780 km, 65° orbit as a secondary payload on an Atlas V through the NASA Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) program. The first successful contact with CSSWE was made within a few hours of launch. CSSWE then completed a 20 day system commissioning phase which validated the performance of the communications, power, and attitude control systems. This was immediately followed by an accelerated 24 hour REPTile commissioning period in time for a geomagnetic storm. The high quality, low noise science data return from REPTile is complementary to the NASA Van Allen Probes mission, which launched two weeks prior to CSSWE. On January 5, 2013, CSSWE completed 90 days of on-orbit science operations, achieving the baseline goal for full mission success. As the CubeSat continues to operate in its extended mission phase, the CSSWE team is working to understand and validate our design with on-orbit data. The power, data, and link budgets estimated prior to launch are found to be an accurate estimate of the on-orbit performance. Satellite interior temperatures are found to remain within their design range, even during periods of multi-week long insolation. However, not all systems have behaved as expected; an on-orbit anomaly occurred ten days after science operations began. An additional innovation is autonomous satellite operation, enabling uplink and downlink during all 8+ CSSWE passes per day and increasing monitoring capability. This was implemented in December to accommodate the lack of student operators over the holiday break and has been exceptionally beneficial. The student-led CSSWE team has grown in experience and knowledge throughout design, build, test, delivery, launch and operations of this small satellite. An overview of the CSSWE system, on-orbit performance and lessons learned will be presented.