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AtmoCube - A small satellite for atmospheric research

Mission Objectives

The University of Wuppertal and the Research Centre Juelich are developing a small satellite for climate research to perform temperature measurements of the middle atmosphere to provide data for climate models and for gravity wave characterization. Based on the three unit CubeSat form factor, the payload consists of a small spectrometer for the observation of airglow, namely O2 atmospheric band emissions at 764 nm. These data will be used to derive temperature distribution and dynamical wave structures at the same time.

Spatial Heterodyne Spectrometer (SHS)

The SHS is a relatively new instrument type, which can be described as a combination of a grating spectrometer and a Fourier-transform spectrometer. Its visual appearance is similar to a Michelson Interferometer, where the mirrors in the arms are replaced by angled gratings. The figure below illustrates the concept of the SHS. Light enters the system from the left and get divided in a beam splitter (BS). Each beam diffracts at a grating (G1, G2), which is tilted with the Littrow angle.

SHS concept
Airglow as seen from the ISS (Credit: NASA)
3U CubeSat
Tomography of the atmosphere

Sponsors

ITP Engines UK is kindly sponsoring AtmoCube with the software licences for the analysis and simulation software ESATAN-TMS