First light from Sunstorm CubeSat

Around the identical dimension as two large Harry Potter paperbacks, ESA’s Sun-watching Sunstorm CubeSat has produced its first photo voltaic X-ray spectrum, coming simply over per week after its launch to orbit aboard a Vega rocket.CubeSats are miniaturised satellites based mostly on standardised 10 cm bins. Sunstorm is a ‘2-unit’ CubeSat, internet hosting an revolutionary photo voltaic X-ray spectrometer referred to as the X-ray Flux Monitor for CubeSats (XFM-CS).A Finnish staff led by the ISAWARE firm developed the miniaturised XFM-CS instrument.Its operate is to detect the X-ray pulses produced by photo voltaic flares – explosive releases of magnetic vitality seen as huge flashes on the Sun’s floor. These give rise in flip to house climate, threatening satellites and terrestrial energy and communications networks, even plane on polar flights.“We are very happy to have acquired our first telemetry from the instrument, showing it is in excellent health,” feedback Juhani Huovelin, Chairman of ISAWARE. “It is important to note that this is just a preliminary look for now, but its stability and data quality are very promising.” Aboa Space Research Oy, Oxford Instruments Technologies and Talvioja Consulting additionally collaborated on XFM-CS.The Sunstorm CubeSat was manufactured by Finland’s Reaktor Space Lab, and the mission funded by Business Finland and and the FLY component of ESA’s General Support Technology Programme, devoted to the early house testing of promising new applied sciences.Sunstorm continues its in-orbit operations and the ultimate phases of its commissioning, explains Janne Kuhno of Reaktor Space Lab: “The early operations went very quickly and we managed to stablish bi-directional S-Band communications on the first pass, perform platform avionics health checks, deploy all four solar panels and acquire Sun pointing attitude for payload operations.”“Acquiring our first solar X-ray spectrum so quickly after launch is a major achievement in itself,” notes Camille Pirat, ESA Technical Officer for the Sunstorm mission.“It is also good news for our forthcoming space weather mission, also carrying a version of the XFM-CS instrument – which was previously known as Lagrange but is currently the subject of a naming competition.”A second ESA CubeSat was additionally launched with Sunstorm, explains Roger Walker, ovserseeing ESA’s Technology CubeSats: “The radiation-detecting RadCube, developed by a team from Hungary, Poland the UK, is also undergoing commissioning, with its first results expected next month.”

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