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GTOSat: Venturing where no CubeSat has gone before
CubeSats are NASA’s newest—and smallest—class of spacecraft. These nanosatellites, often about the size of a cereal box, enable rapid, low-cost exploration of the space environment around Earth and beyond.
These tiny explorers provide crucial observations for understanding space physics and the dynamic radiation environment in near-Earth space. In particular, they help researchers study high-energy charged particles trapped by Earth’s magnetic field, in what are known as the Van Allen Radiation Belts. These radiation belts are highly dynamic, with often unpredictable variations in their intensity and spatial extent. Understanding this changing environment is critical to mitigate the harm energetic particles can cause to safeguard spacecraft and astronauts as they explore space.
This talk will introduce CubeSats, explore the dynamics of Earth’s radiation belts, and discuss the upcoming GTOSat CubeSat mission, which will study the radiation belts from a highly elliptical orbit, an environment in which CubeSats have never flown before.
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