Chapter 1: Introduction and Problem Definition
1.1 Descriptive scenario
Scientists at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Langley Research Center (LaRC) developed an instrument to study pollution in the Earth’s atmosphere from space. This Earth-observing instrument, known as the MicroMAPS Gas Filter Correlation Radiometer (MAPS), a smaller version of the original Measurement of Air Pollution from Satellites (MAPS) instrument, measures carbon monoxide levels in the troposphere. Researchers study the characteristics and movement of air pollution from data acquired. Following cancellation of the Clarke mission, upon which the MAPS instrument was scheduled to ride, scientists at LaRC began to formulate new ideas for getting the instrument into space. One alternative mission requests that a single satellite be designed whose sole purpose is to house and support the MAPS instrument. Virginia Tech is chosen to design this satellite, based on its existing nanosatellite design, HokieSat. This report describes the host satellite design for the MAPS instrument.
The new host satellite will be designed, built and tested in Virginia through collaboration of Virginia Tech, the University of Virginia, Old Dominion University, the Virginia Space Grant Consortium, and LaRC. Virginia Tech is responsible for the design of the host satellite, including the structure and all internal subsystems. The host satellite design is based on Virginia Tech’s HokieSat, part of a project supported by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). The host satellite is designed to house and support the MAPS instrument, and possibly a camera, with a three-year lifetime.
The host satellite will be placed into a 400 km circular orbit with an inclination of 51.6o. The host satellite can launch on a shuttle hitchhiker system such as the Shuttle Hitchhiker Experiment Launch System (SHELS) or the getaway special canister (GASCAN), or as a secondary payload on an expendable launch vehicle. To relay data from the instrument to the ground, the host satellite uses Amateur Satellite (AMSAT) groundstations around the world to downlink data continuously.
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