Review of Scientific Instruments
A I P Publishing LLC
The Gridded Retarding Ion Drift Sensor (GRIDS) is a small sensor that will fly on the 6 U petitSat CubeSat. It is designed to measure the three-dimensional plasma drift velocity vector in the Earth’s ionosphere. The GRIDS also supplies information about the ion temperature, ion density, and the ratio of light to heavy ions present in the ionospheric plasma. It utilizes well-proven techniques that have been successfully validated by similar instruments on larger satellite missions while meeting CubeSat-compatible requirements for low mass, size, and power consumption. GRIDS performs the functions of a Retarding Potential Analyzer (RPA) and an Ion Drift Meter (IDM) by combining the features of both types of instruments in a single package. The sensor alternates RPA and IDM measurements to produce the full set of measurement parameters listed above. On the petitSat mission, GRIDS will help identify and characterize a phenomenon known as plasma blobs (or enhancements).
Davidson, R. L., Oborn, B., Robertson, E. F., Noel, S., Earle, G. D., Green, J. & Kramer, J. The gridded retarding ion drift sensor for the petitSat cubeSat mission. Rev. Sci. Instrum. 91, 064502 (2020); https://doi.org/10.1063/1.5140470