NASA Set To Launch Shoebox-sized Satellite Studying Earth's Upper Atmosphere
NASA is set to launch a shoebox-sized satellite into space to study how Earth's atmosphere interacts wth the Sun.
The CubeSat is named Dellingr after the mythological Norse god of the dawn.
The spacecraft recently completed tests in the Magnetic Test Facility at NASA Goddard.
The room encloses a 42-foot-diameter coil system that cancels out Earth's magnetic field.
The entire building is made with nonmagnetic materials such as wood and aluminum.
The facility is isolated from other buildings to avoid any other magnetic influence.
This allowed scientists to evaluate the spacecraft's own magnetic field, which can affect its movement and measurements in space.
They also tested Dellingr's magnetometers - key instruments for measuring the direction and strength of the magnetic fields that surround Earth.
Dellingr will study the ionosphere - a layer of charged particles in Earth's upper atmosphere.
Solar radiation interacts with the ionosphere, causing it to expand and contract.
The movement of the ionosphere can drive space weather and affect satellite orbits.
CubeSats are relatively inexpensive and provide scientists with quick and accurate data from space.
Scientists have been able to fly constellations of low-cost missions and micro satellites for gathering simultaneous and global measurements.
The more satellites like Dellingr we have to explore the complex Sun-Earth system, the better we can understand how it might affect us here on Earth.