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Development of mesosphere in-situ measurement tools: Atmosphere Analyser

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - DAA (Development of mesosphere in-situ measurement tools: Atmosphere Analyser)

Reporting period: 2016-04-01 to 2016-09-30

D-Orbit Atmosphere Analyser (DAA) is a Cubesat platform designed to collect in-situ data from the upper atmosphere, aiming specifically for the region between 80 and 200km. This region comprises the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere (MLT) region and the lowest regions of the Ionosphere. This region is above the stratospheric balloons maximum altitude and below the satellites orbit lowest altitude, therefore is the hardest region to reach in the whole atmosphere and the most poorly understood. Up to now, the only way to reach this region was through the use of sounding rockets, which are very limited in geographical reach and observation frequency and also very expensive.
DAA is an innovative solution developed by D-Orbit PT that want to take advantage of the Cubesat format and easier space access combined with D-Orbit's heritage on space propulsion solutions. DAA's mission has been designed in order to collect in-situ data in a target region of 120 to 130 Km altitude for one year with an average of 5 daily passes, each passage should last approximately 6 minutes.
The on-board sensor selection shall be made considering the client data needs. From D-Orbit assessment and market scouting, in the initial DAA mission the on-board major sensors should be a Langmuir probe to collect ionosphere plasma density and a precise orbit determination system to measure the atmosphere air density. The collected data can be used in different applications, the most relevant ones are the ones that can benefit directly from an improved knowledge of DAA target region, namely:
- GNNS service providers – For extra accuracy and reliability.
- Aviation – For increased safety in polar routes
- Satellite Orbit tracking services – For improved orbit position determination
- Weather and Climate – Enable new data for weather and climate studies
Market research activities were the primary and initial focus of the project whose results were used to feed into the technical definition of the solution. The study included the selection of partners for the scientific definition of the data to collect and for the optimization of the platform. It also included the definition of the commercial value proposition through the contact with different potential customers and the collection of requirements from each. DAA data can benefit several sectors, among which were identified the navigation systems - where critical systems were included such as aviation, satellite tracking, and communications - as well as weather and climate. The final result of the market research resulted in the definition of a mission concept based on requirements from the market research activities.
The next steps of the project will include the manufacturing, launch and operation of a small constellation of Cubesats according to the defined mission in order to collect commercially viable data and demonstrate the success of the technology and business model.
DAA will have a great impact of society, both commercially as well as institutionally, it will not only provide accuracy services that can boost efficiency in aviation and GNSS, as it will also contribute for the research in climate studies.
Data Collection Orbit Detail