AMICal Sat project

The CSUG’s third project, having started in January 2017. This satellite is the first cubesat launched on september 3 of 2020 by the CSUG.
Thanks to the involvement of students, teaching staff, researchers and industrial players, the project is a hub for intergenerational knowledge transfer while combining a great variety of fields, from mechanics to electronics, thermal engineering and computer science.

This 2U nanosatellite (227x100x100 mm) has a dual scientific mission focusing on the observation of the Northern and Southern Lights. Firstly, AMICal Sat observes auroras using nadir pointing, i.e. by determining the centre of the Earth to map and link the geographical position of the auroral oval and its internal structures with solar activity. Secondly, the cubesat performs image capture ‘in limbo’ through tangential orientation with the Earth to capture the vertical profile of the auroras and match an altitude to their various emissions. In addition to these scientific missions, the satellite also carries out monthly calibration on the Moon to quantify the deterioration of the imager used over time.

The AMICal Sat project is very much tied to ATISE in that their missions are related, in terms both of aurora observation and of the instrument used. As such, it will enable extremely valuable feedback.

The AMICal Sat project is produced in close collaboration with MSU-SINP for both technical and scientific parts (Skobeltsyn Institute of Nuclear Physics – Lomonosov Moscow State University).

In April 2022, AMICalSat is still working. However a failure of the orientation system occurred and blocks the possibility of orienting the satellite towards the auroras and to take pictures of them at each passage over the poles.  However, we were able to recover pictures of auroras and to carry out processing on these images. This allowed us to reconstruct the flux of particles entering the atmosphere (Barthélemy et al 2021, Arxiv). These processes must still be improved, we will be able to process these data in the next months...However we also showed that precise reconstructions will require spectrometers like the ATISE one.
Updated on June 8, 2022