The development has begun of the first in Ukraine unified nanosatellite with scientific equipment for space exploration.
The project is implemented by the Institute of Radio Astronomy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, Institute for Scintillation Materials of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine, and “Igor Sikorsky” Kyiv Polytechnic Institute. A letter of intent has already been signed recently. It is planned to develop a general concept and make up a breadboard model of the nanosatellite in CubeSat format with a payload in the form of the МіRА_ер miniature electron and proton reording analyzer. Nanosat will have the possibility to serve additional payloads for the other targeted tasks.
The instrument will continuously monitor ionizing radiation in the lower layers of the Earth’s magnetosphere, explore the dynamics of the Earth’s radiation belts as a constituent part of space weather, register unsteady fluxes of high-energy electrons and protons at ionospheric and low-orbit satellite altitudes.
“The most important item in our developments is not even a satellite as a platform, but a scientific experiment. It is for it that we develop a scientific “under-the-hood”. This refers to the study of the Earth’s radiation belts, space weather. The equipment to be installed in the satellite will transmit to us the characteristics of radiation belts to be researched. A hypothesis exists that based on these data, the microbursts that affect instruments on the Earth can be investigated or, as an example, earthquakes can be predicted”, - explains Ruslan Antypenko, dean of the RTF. Graduate assistants and students will be involved in the development work.
While earlier space research was carried out using hard-weighted instruments weighing tens of kilograms, now they should be very tiny, as they will be mounted on the nanosatellite. It is also important that the equipment developed at the KPI can be installed both on its own platform and on another satellite.
The unified nanosatellite will be capable to supplement or change the composition of the payload for scientific or applied research and observation in view of the demand of various sectors of industry in Ukraine and abroad.
The nanosatellite will have a unified CubeSat 2U format design. It contains the scientific payload МіRА_ер,power supply, and orientation systems, on-board computer, communication system. МіRА_ер instrument is a tiny recording analyzer of high-energy electrons and protons of magnetospheric, interplanetary and solar origin. The device consists of a detector head with sensitive sensors of elementary charged particles, modules of analog and digital signal processing. Particle sensors were developed by the domestic Institute for Scintillation Materials of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine.
The Institute of Radio Astronomy of the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine and the Faculty of Radio Engineering of “Igor Sikorsky” Kyiv Polytechnic Institute is already developing a concept and testing modules of the prototype of a compact instrument for recording high-energy charged particles in space for nanosatellites in CubeSat format.