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Small Satellites Chosen for Big Mission

October 16, 2008
By H. Mosher

The National Science Foundation is funding SRI International and the University of Michigan to use CubeSats in a program called CubeSat-based Ground-to-Space Bistatic Radar Experiment-Radio Aurora Explorer. CubeSats are small satellites, typically a 10-centimeter cube weighing one kilogram, used for science missions that are dedicated to space weather and atmospheric research. The program's mission is to remotely explore small-scale ionization structures in the form of plasma turbulence that occurs in response to intense electrical currents in space. Those structures can have a negative impact on communications and navigation signals by perturbing the refractive index along signal propagation paths. The first launch is scheduled for December 2009.=

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