Date of Award:

2015

Document Type:

Thesis

Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)

Department:

Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Advisor/Chair:

Heng Ban

Abstract

Terrestrial auroras are visible-light events caused by charged particles trapped by the Earth's magnetic eld precipitating into the atmosphere along magnetic eld lines near the poles. Auroral events are very dynamic, changing rapidly in time and across large spatial scales. Better knowledge of the low of energy during an aurora will improve understanding of the heating processes in the atmosphere during geomagnetic and solar storms.

The Auroral Spatial Structures Probe is a sounding rocket campaign to observe the middle-atmosphere plasma and electromagnetic environment during an auroral event with multipoint simultaneous measurements for fine temporal and spatial resolution. The auroral event in question occurred on January 28, 2015, with liftoff the rocket at 10:41:01 UTC. The goal of this thesis is to produce clear observations of the magnetic eld that may be used to model the current systems of the auroral event. To achieve this, the attitude of ASSP's 7 independent payloads must be estimated, and a new attitude determination method is attempted. The new solution uses nonlinear least-squares parameter estimation with a rigid-body dynamics simulation to determine attitude with an estimated accuracy of a few degrees. Observed magnetic eld perturbations found using the new attitude solution are presented, where structures of the perturbations are consistent with previous observations and electromagnetic theory.

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