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NASA's CURIE CubeSat to Study Space Weather on Ariane 6 Rocket
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NASA's CURIE CubeSat to Study Space Weather on Ariane 6 Rocket
by Erica Marchand
Paris, France (SPX) Jul 08, 2024

NASA's CURIE (CubeSat Radio Interferometry Experiment) will be a rideshare payload on the ESA's (European Space Agency) first flight of the Arianespace Ariane 6 rocket, aimed at exploring the main factors influencing space weather. The launch is scheduled for July 9 from Europe's Spaceport, the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.

Designed by Dr. David Sundkvist and his team at the University of California, Berkeley, CURIE is a radio interferometer composed of two 3U CubeSats. These CubeSats will launch together and later separate in orbit. The experiment's goal is to measure radio waves from the Sun and other celestial sources from two different vantage points.

The CubeSats will focus on studying radio burst emissions caused by solar events such as flares and coronal mass ejections in the inner heliosphere, the space between the Sun and Jupiter. These ejections can influence space weather, affecting satellites, power grids, and communications on Earth.

CURIE will be the first mission to measure radio waves in the 0.1-19 MHz frequency range from space. It will serve as a testing platform for new space-based radio observation methods. Managed by NASA's Science Mission Directorate through the Heliophysics Flight Opportunities for Research and Technology activity, the mission will require an orbit around 360 miles above Earth to minimize interference from Earth's ionosphere.

"NASA and ESA share a collaborative and mutually beneficial working relationship and are in constant communication about potential spacecraft and launch opportunities between the two agencies," said Norman Phelps, mission manager with NASA's Launch Services Program at the agency's Kennedy Space Center in Florida. "ESA notified NASA it could provide a slot on the Ariane 6 if there was a CubeSat compatible with the orbital parameters and launch window, and after a thorough search, CURIE was selected."

NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) included CURIE in the Ariane 6 launch after selecting it during the 11th round of CSLI candidates in 2020. Since its inception, NASA's CSLI has launched more than 150 CubeSats on various rockets, collaborating with over 200 institutions and organizations to offer a cost-effective way to conduct scientific research and technological demonstrations in space.

Related Links
CURIE: Cubesat Radio Interferometry Experiment
NASA CubeSat Launch Initiative
Microsat News and Nanosat News at SpaceMart.com

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