An agreement between MSU and UGA universities in the domain of small satellites for space weather studies

le 2 juillet 2018
An agreement between Moscow State University (MSU) and University Grenoble-Alpes (UGA) , on the AMICal Sat cooperation, has been signed at the Toulouse Space Show, Wednesday June 27.
Northern lights are created by particles coming from the sun and precipitating into the atmosphere at auroral latitudes. When hitting the atmosphere these (auroral) particles create very nice emissions looking like green and red moving curtains. Increase of fluxes of auroral particles is often corresponds to magnetic storms that are also responsible for strong perturbations in the near-Earth’s space. For example in 1989, the electrical network of Quebec fleeted down due to severe magnetic storm. Auroral oval expanded to low latitudes and strong perturbations occurred in the field of telecommunications, GNSS, aviation and so on. Monitoring of the northern light is of great importance, because it will help to understand how the Earth reacts to extreme solar event and is then part of a science domain named Space weather.

In this light, Moscow State University (MSU) and University Grenoble-Alpes (UGA) carry out a joint project to study the structure and dynamics of the auroral oval as well as mechanisms of magnetosphere-ionosphere-thermosphere coupling. More simply said, it will explore how the particles traveling from the Sun to the area of Earth magnetic field influence magnetosphere and then ionosphere thermosphere and upper atmosphere.

This project called Aurora-AMICal (Auroral and Moon Intensity Calibration Satellite) will take images of the aurora that gives possibility to measure their luminosity in three colors (Red, Blue, and Green). The Satellite AMICal Sat will be operated mainly from mission control center (MCC) from Space Monitoring Data Center of SINP MSU with assistance of MCC from CSUG UGA. On behalf of Roscosmos the final integration of the nanosatellite inside the deployer box (Spring box which will be opened at the desired altitude and which will eject the satellite from the rocket) will be made at SINP MSU’s Space Technological Center.

Data obtained from this 2U cubsat (Dimensions 10x10x20 cm or volume of 2L) located on Low Earth Orbit (Altitude 550 km) will allow to reconstruct particle fluxes precipitating in the atmosphere and estimate the total energy they carry.

The uncalibrated images from AMICal Sat will be available in the real time for public, for scientist community and for education centers worldwide. Based on realtime data MSU will prepare the reports on space weather conditions on behalf of Roscosmos and Russian Weather Survey.

In the field of fundamental research MSU and UGA scientists will jointly provide the comparative analysis of the observations of the auroral oval structure and dynamics coming from AMICal Sat and data ” on auroral particle fluxes from meteorological “Meteor M2 to estimate the current state of the auroral oval.

“Aurora-AMICal” cubesat satellite launch will be realized inside the Roscosmos program on the development of the Russian scientific-educational small sats. The satellite is planned to be launched in March 2019. An agreement between MSU and UGA universities, on the AMICal Sat cooperation, has been signed at the Toulouse Space Show, Wednesday June 27. This satellite is the first of a fruitful long-term collaboration between MSU and UGA in the domain of small satellites for space weather studies. It is expected that other satellites and space instruments will be developed as collaborative projects in the next future.
For more information :
Moscow State University 
University Grenoble-Alpes

Mis à jour le  2 juillet 2018