Space Instrumentation and Applications
Module Tutor: Prof. M. Cropper
Prof. A. Fazakerley, Dr K. al-Janabi, Prof. I. Hepburn, Dr D. Kataria, Prof. J.-P. Muller, Prof. L. Harra
Module: 15 credits
Department: Space and Climate Physics
This module aims to teach students about scientific instrumentation on satellites and spacecraft, their uses, design, operation and data processing. Specific topics include:
1. Spacecraft as observation platforms
Why go into space, space environment, space effects from Earth’s surface, in situ measurements, remote sensing, space as a laboratory, impact of space studies.
2. Systems approach to measurements
Analysis, detection, signal processing, data encoding, control. Spacecraft interface and subsystems: accommodation, attitude control, power conditioning. Examples from solar system exploration.
3. Spacecraft-environment interactions
Spacecraft charging in low Earth orbit and geostationary orbit. Radiation damage effects. Background effects and their minimisation. Plasma influx, penetrating radiation, sunlight.
4. In-situ plasma measurements
Requirements; Energy and mass analysis for charged species from 1eV to 1MeV. Neutral mass spectrometers.
5. Detectors and sensors for in-situ measurements
Channeltrons, microchannel plates, solid state detectors, charge coupled devices, current collectors, antennas and probes, magnetometers and electric field sensors
6. Planetary analysis
Nuclear remote and in-situ measurement techniques. Introduction to planetary analysis, spectroscopy: γ-ray, X-ray, α-particle, neutron, Mossbauer. Visible light & dust particle measurement techniques. Imagers, experimental platforms, future missions, dust detectors. Radar instrumentation and chemical analysis.
7. Atmospheric measurements
Basic physics and chemistry, spectroscopy, practical instrument examples, applications of fundamental principles to measurements
8. Detectors and sensors for astrophysics
Radiometry, solid state physics, cooling, intrinsic and extrinsic photoconductors, radiation effects, stressed photoconductors, photodiodes, photoemission detectors, photomultipliers, image intensifiers, bolometers, coherent detectors, amplifiers; Attitude and position sensing: sun sensors, earth sensors, star sensors, magnetometers, attitude control
9. Astronomical observations (astrophysics, UV/optical/IR)
Radio, Microwave and Sub-millimeter, Far Infra-red and Infra-red, Visible and UV, X-ray, Gamma-ray, Formation Flying, Cryogenics
10. Solar measurements
Remote sensing instrumentation for studying the Sun. Motivation for observing the Sun, detectors used, telescope designs, instrumentation from the optical to gamma-ray wavelength ranges, future solar instrumentation.
11. Onboard and ground data processing
System overview, onboard data processing, data compression techniques, on-board data handling (OBDH) and telemetry systems, spacewire, ground systems
12. Case studies I: Case studies of missions
13. Case studies II: Student presentations of case study missions