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5AM2: The future: extended mission, future missions
11:30am - 12:20pm
Session Chair: Nils Olsen Session Chair: Giuseppe Ottavianelli
11:30am - 11:45am
Investigation of a Future Constellation Geometry and Orbit Evolution of the Swarm Mission
Stavros Kotsiaros1,2, Terrence J. Sabaka1, Patrick Alken3
1NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, United States of America; 2Universities Space Research Association, Greenbelt, MD, USA; 3University of Colorado at Boulder, Boulder, CO, USA
The Swarm satellite trio is currently very healthy with sufficient fuel remains for several series of orbit maneuvers. This provides an excellent opportunity to prolong the mission significantly and therefore extend the mission objectives. We propose a future orbit evolution scenario for Swarm Alpha and Charlie and present a sensitivity analysis investigating the added scientific benefit of this proposal. The scenario can be broken down into four main scenes. Scene one: gradually reduce the longitudinal separation of Alpha and Charlie. This is expected to further exploit the cross-track gradient information and increase the sensitivity to the small-scale features of the lithospheric field, which are not captured so far by Swarm. In addition, a smaller separation is expected to suppress variable external field signals with short spatial distributions and might improve the sensitivity to the oceanic signals. Scene two: minimize the longitudinal separation and enter a tandem (string-of-pearls) configuration. This will enable the estimation of instantaneous along-track gradients and is expected to assist in decoupling the temporal and spatial correlations of the external fields along the orbit tracks. Scene three: increase the longitudinal separation of Alpha and Charlie beyond the initial separation of 1.4o. Larger separations are expected to benefit the investigation of high-latitude external field structures such as the auroral electrojets. Scene four: lift Alpha and Charlie to higher altitude and let them descend until the next solar minimum in 2030. This extends the mission duration which is important for core and external field studies as well as improving the internal field sensitivity with low altitude data at the end of the mission.
11:45am - 12:05pm
Nanosatellite Space Physics: Multispacecraft Missions Inspired by Swarm
Johnathan K Burchill
University of Calgary, Canada
Advances in miniaturization have led to the potential for precision attitude determination and control, orbit control and formation flying, boom deployment, and large telemetry bandwidth on platforms ~10 kg or less and ~10 cm on a side. The low-cost-to-orbit nanosatellite technology affords means we can dream of new kinds of massively parallel missions. In this talk I argue the scientific merits of a space physics 'Miniaturized Multispacecraft Mission' for basic research into ionosphere-thermosphere-magntosphere, training, and operational near-real-time space weather.
12:05pm - 12:20pm
Aiming at Enhancing the Science Return of the Swarm Mission: the Swarm Delta NanoMagSat Project
Gauthier Hulot1, Jean-Michel Léger2, Pierre Vigneron1, Thomas Jager2, François Bertrand2, Pierdavide Coïsson1, Elvira Astafyeva1, Linda Tomasini3
1Institut de Physique du Globe de Paris, Sorbonne Paris Cité, Université Paris Diderot, CNRS, F-75005 Paris, France; 2CEA, LETI, MINATEC Campus, F-38054 Grenoble, France; 3Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales, Toulouse, France
ESA’s Swarm mission aims at studying all sources of Earth’s magnetic field. It consists of two satellites (Alpha and Charlie), which fly side-by-side on near polar orbits at an altitude of slightly less than 500 km, and of a third satellite (Bravo) on a similar but slightly more polar and higher orbit, which progressively drifts with respect to that of Alpha and Charlie. This orbital configuration has proven extremely valuable, as evidenced by the many results obtained from the first three years of the mission. These results, however, also reveal that geomagnetic field modeling and investigation efforts are now hampered by the still limited local time coverage provided by this constellation. This affects our ability to accurately characterize time changes in the ionospheric and magnetospheric field contributions, and to model the electrical conductivity of the Earth’s mantle. It also indirectly limits our ability to model the core and lithospheric field. More generally, many of the “residual signals” detected in the very accurate magnetic data of the Swarm mission can still not fully be exploited. Further increasing the scientific return of the Swarm mission by squeezing more out of these data, however, would be possible if a fourth “Delta” satellite were to be launched soon enough to join the constellation at a similar altitude but much lower inclination orbit (such as 60°). Such a satellite would provide less geographical coverage but a much faster mapping of all local times over these latitudes. Its inclined orbit would also provide very useful “tie points” (with crossings at 60°) that would be very beneficial for lithospheric field investigations. In this presentation, we will report on an on-going CNES Phase 0+ aiming at designing a free-orbiting gradient stabilized 12U nanosatellite, “NanoMagSat”, that could be launched on such an orbit before the end of the Swarm mission (currently expected well beyond 2022) and act as the Swarm Delta satellite at a much reduced cost. We will report on progress in the satellite design, instrument miniaturization and performance, as well as on mission simulation activities.