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Proceedings Paper

Solar Imaging Radio Array (SIRA): a multispacecraft mission
Author(s): R. J. MacDowall; S. D. Bale; L. Demaio; N. Gopalswamy; D. L. Jones; M. L. Kaiser; J. C. Kasper; M. J. Reiner; K. W. Weiler
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Paper Abstract

The Solar Imaging Radio Array (SIRA) is a mission to perform aperture synthesis imaging of low frequency solar, magnetospheric, and astrophysical radio bursts. The primary science targets are coronal mass ejections (CMEs), which drive shock waves that may produce radio emission. A space-based interferometer is required, because the frequencies of observation (<15 MHz) are cutoff by the ionosphere. SIRA will require a 12 to 16 microsatellite constellation to establish a sufficient number of baselines with separations on the order of kilometers. The microsats will be located quasi-randomly on a spherical shell, initially of diameter 10 km or less. The baseline microsat, as presented here, is 3-axis stabilized with a body-mounted, earth-directed high gain antenna and an articulated solar array; this design was developed by the Integrated Mission Design Center (IMDC) at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). A retrograde orbit at a distance of ~500,000 km from Earth was selected as the preferred orbit because the 8 Mbps downlink requirement is easy to meet, while keeping the constellation sufficiently distant from terrestrial radio interference. Also, the retrograde orbit permits imaging of terrestrial magnetospheric radio sources from varied perspectives. The SIRA mission serves as a pathfinder for space-based satellite constellations and for spacecraft interferometry at shorter wavelengths. It will be proposed to the NASA MIDEX proposal opportunity in mid-2005.

Paper Details

Date Published: 11 January 2005
PDF: 9 pages
Proc. SPIE 5659, Enabling Sensor and Platform Technologies for Spaceborne Remote Sensing, (11 January 2005); doi: 10.1117/12.578736
Show Author Affiliations
R. J. MacDowall, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
S. D. Bale, Univ. of California/Berkeley (United States)
L. Demaio, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
N. Gopalswamy, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
D. L. Jones, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
M. L. Kaiser, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
J. C. Kasper, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
M. J. Reiner, NASA Goddard Space Flight (United States)
The Catholic Univ. of America (United States)
K. W. Weiler, Naval Research Lab. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 5659:
Enabling Sensor and Platform Technologies for Spaceborne Remote Sensing
George J. Komar; Jinxue Wang; Toshiyoshi Kimura, Editor(s)

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