Indexed on: 06 Feb '14Published on: 06 Feb '14Published in: Space Science Reviews
Funded by the NSF CubeSat and NASA ELaNa programs, the Dynamic Ionosphere CubeSat Experiment (DICE) mission consists of two 1.5U CubeSats which were launched into an eccentric low Earth orbit on October 28, 2011. Each identical spacecraft carries two Langmuir probes to measure ionospheric in-situ plasma densities, electric field probes to measure in-situ DC and AC electric fields, and a science grade magnetometer to measure in-situ DC and AC magnetic fields. Given the tight integration of these multiple sensors with the CubeSat platforms, each of the DICE spacecraft is effectively a “sensor-sat” capable of comprehensive ionospheric diagnostics. The use of two identical sensor-sats at slightly different orbiting velocities in nearly identical orbits permits the de-convolution of spatial and temporal ambiguities in the observations of the ionosphere from a moving platform. In addition to demonstrating nanosat-based constellation science, the DICE mission is advancing a number of groundbreaking CubeSat technologies including miniaturized mechanisms and high-speed downlink communications.