The Colorado Student Space Weather Experiment (CSSWE) is a 3-unit (10cm x 10cm x 30cm) CubeSat mission funded by the National Science Foundation, launched into a low-Earth, polar orbit on September 13, 2012, as a secondary payload under NASA’s Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa) program. CSSWE contains a single science payload, the Relativistic Electron and Proton Telescope integrated little experiment (REPTile), a miniaturization of the Relativistic Electron and Proton Telescope (REPT) built at LASP for the NASA Van Allen Probes mission, which consists of two identical spacecraft that traverse the heart of the radiation belts in a low inclination orbit.
CSSWE’s REPTile is designed to measure the directional differential flux of protons ranging from 10 to 40 MeV and electrons from 0.58 to >3.8 MeV. The commissioning phase was completed and REPTile was activated on October 4, 2012; the data are clean and exceeding expectations! The fully successful, three-month science mission was completed on January 5, 2013, and the CubeSat continues to operate normally and return high quality science data. Mission operation has been fully automated and data analysis and modeling will continue for years.
Taken in conjunction with measurements from the Van Allen Probes and THEMIS, REPTile has produced significant science results. Many peer-reviewed engineering and science articles have been published on CSSWE and numerous invited talks have been given at conferences around the globe.
Learn about how the CSSWE team overcame a number of engineering challenges to achieve such clean measurements under the mass, volume, and power limits of a CubeSat. You’ll also discover how CSSWE is an ideal class project that involved over 65 undergraduate and graduate students, providing training for the next generation of engineers and scientists over the full life-cycle of this unique satellite project.
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