24/7 Space News
MICROSAT BLITZ
NASA's 6-Pack of Mini-Satellites Ready for Their Moment in the Sun
The six satellites that make up NASA's SunRISE mission are each only about the size of a cereal box, flanked by small solar panels. This fleet of six SmallSats will work together to effectively create a much larger radio antenna in space. Space Dynamics Laboratory/Allison Bills
ADVERTISEMENT
     
NASA's 6-Pack of Mini-Satellites Ready for Their Moment in the Sun
by Staff Writers
Pasadena CA (JPL) Dec 01, 2023

Most NASA missions feature one spacecraft or, occasionally, a few. The agency's Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE) is using half a dozen. This month, mission members completed construction of the six identical cereal box-size satellites, which will now go into storage and await their final testing and ride to space. SunRISE will launch as a rideshare aboard a United Launch Alliance Vulcan rocket, sponsored by the United States Space Force (USSF)'s Space Systems Command (SSC).

Once launched, these six small satellites, or SmallSats, will work together to act like one giant radio antenna in space. The mission will study the physics of explosions in the Sun's atmosphere in order to gain insights that could someday help protect astronauts and space hardware from showers of accelerated particles.

"This is a big moment for everyone who has worked on SunRISE," said Jim Lux, the SunRISE project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Southern California, which manages the mission for the agency. "Challenges are expected when you're doing something for the first time, and especially when the space vehicles are small and compact. But we have a small team that works well together, across multiple institutions and companies. I'm looking forward to the day when we receive the first images of the Sun in these radio wavelengths."

Monitoring Solar Radio Bursts
They may be small, but the six satellites have a big job ahead of them studying solar radio bursts, or the generation of radio waves in the outer atmosphere of the Sun. These bursts result from electrons accelerated in the Sun's atmosphere during energetic events known as coronal mass ejections and solar flares.

Particles accelerated by these events can damage spacecraft electronics - including on communications satellites in Earth orbit - and pose a health threat to astronauts. Scientists still have big questions about how solar radio bursts, coronal mass ejections, and solar flares are created and how they are linked. SunRISE may shed light on this complex question. Someday, tracking solar radio bursts and pinpointing their location could help warn humans when the energetic particles from coronal mass ejections and solar flares are likely to hit Earth.

This type of monitoring isn't possible from the ground. Earth's atmosphere blocks the range of radio wavelengths primarily emitted by solar radio bursts. For a space-based monitoring system, scientists need a radio telescope bigger than any previously flown in space. This is where SunRISE comes in.

To look out for solar radio events, the SmallSats will fly about 6 miles (10 kilometers) apart and each deploy four radio antennas that extend 10 feet (2.5 meters). Mission scientists and engineers will track where the satellites are relative to one another and measure with precise timing when each one observes a particular event. Then they will combine the information collected by the satellites into a single data stream from which images of the Sun will be produced for scientists to study - a technique called interferometry.

"Some missions put multiple scientific instruments on a single spacecraft, whereas we use multiple small satellites to act as a single instrument," said JPL's Andrew Romero-Wolf, the deputy project scientist for SunRISE.

Related Links
Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE)
Microsat News and Nanosat News at SpaceMart.com

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters

RELATED CONTENT
The following news reports may link to other Space Media Network websites.
MICROSAT BLITZ
NASA's Educational CubeSats: Small Satellites, Big Impact
Kennedy Space Center FL (SPX) Dec 01, 2023
Despite their small size, the satellites launching through NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) missions have a big impact, creating access to space for many who might not otherwise have the opportunity. One recent mission tells the story of four teams of researchers and engineers who conceived, built, launched, and collected data from these shoebox-sized satellites, helping them answer a host of questions about our planet and the universe. The teams' CubeSats launched as part of the ELaNa 38 ( ... read more

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
MICROSAT BLITZ
Axiom Space Chooses AWS to Power IT Infrastructure for Commercial Space Station

Was going to space a good idea

Sierra Space's Shooting Star Module Begins Rigorous Testing at NASA Facility

Russian Progress 86 spacecraft lifts off with supplies for ISS

MICROSAT BLITZ
NASA Continues Progress on Artemis III Rocket Adapter with Key Joint Installation

NASA Tests In-Flight Capability of Artemis Moon Rocket Engine

Sidus Space and Bechtel join forces for Artemis Mobile Launcher 2

NASA, small companies eye new cargo delivery, heat shield technologies

MICROSAT BLITZ
Mapping Mars: Deep Learning Could Help Identify Jezero Crater Landing Site

MAHLI Marathon: Sols 4025-4027

Should I Stay or Should I Go Now: Sols 4028-4029

Farewell, Solar Conjunction 2023: Sols 4023-4024

MICROSAT BLITZ
CAS Space expands into Guangdong with new rocket engine testing complex

China's Lunar Samples on Display in Macao to Inspire Future Explorers

China Manned Space Agency Delegation Highlights SARs' Role in Space Program

Wenchang Set to Become China's Premier Commercial Space Launch Hub by Next Year

MICROSAT BLITZ
Embry-Riddle's Innovative Mission Control Lab prepares students for booming space sector

Ovzon and SSC close to sealing satellite communication contract worth $10M

A major boost for space skills and research in North East England

GalaxySpace to boost mobile broadband with new-gen satellite technology

MICROSAT BLITZ
CityU develops universal metasurface antenna, advancing 6G communications

The Rise of the Virtual Mission

LeoLabs Partners with Aalyria to enhance global communication network security

Tracking undetectable space junk

MICROSAT BLITZ
Discovery of planet too big for its sun throws off solar system formation models

Ariel moves from drawing board to construction phase

Webb study reveals rocky planets can form in extreme environments

Can signs of life be detected from Saturn's frigid moon?

MICROSAT BLITZ
Unwrapping Uranus and its icy moon secrets

Juice burns hard towards first-ever Earth-Moon flyby

Fall into an ice giant's atmosphere

Juno finds Jupiter's winds penetrate in cylindrical layers

Subscribe Free To Our Daily Newsletters


ADVERTISEMENT



The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2023 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. All articles labeled "by Staff Writers" include reports supplied to Space Media Network by industry news wires, PR agencies, corporate press officers and the like. Such articles are individually curated and edited by Space Media Network staff on the basis of the report's information value to our industry and professional readership. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Statement Our advertisers use various cookies and the like to deliver the best ad banner available at one time. All network advertising suppliers have GDPR policies (Legitimate Interest) that conform with EU regulations for data collection. By using our websites you consent to cookie based advertising. If you do not agree with this then you must stop using the websites from May 25, 2018. Privacy Statement. Additional information can be found here at About Us.