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Proceedings Paper

GEOScan: a geoscience facility from space
Author(s): Lars P. Dyrud; Jonathan T. Fentzke; Kerri Cahoy; Shawn Murphy; Warren Wiscombe; Chad Fish; Brian Gunter; Rebecca Bishop; Gary Bust; Bob Erlandson; Brian Bauer; Om Gupta
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Paper Abstract

GEOScan is a grassroots effort, proposed as globally networked orbiting observation facility utilizing the main Iridium NEXT 66-satellite constellation. This will create a revolutionary new capability of massively dense, global geoscience observations and targets elusive questions that scientists have not previously been able to answer, and will not answer, until simultaneous global measurements are made. This effort is enabled by Iridium as part of its Hosted Payload Program. By developing a common sensor suite the logistical and cost barriers for transmitting massive amounts of data from 66 satellites configured in 6 orbital planes with 11 evenly spaced slots per plane is removed. Each sensor suite of GEOScan's networked orbital observation facility consists of 6 system sensors: a Radiometer to measure Earth's total outgoing radiation; a GPS Compact Total Electron Content Sensor to image Earth's plasma environment and gravity field; a MicroCam Multispectral Imager to measure global cloud cover, vegetation, land use, and bright aurora, and also take the first uniform instantaneous image of the Earth; a Radiation Belt Mapping System (dosimeters) to measure energetic electron and proton distributions; a Compact Earth Observing Spectrometer to measure aerosol-atmospheric composition and vegetation; and MEMS Accelerometers to deduce non-conservative forces aiding gravity and neutral drag studies. Our analysis shows that the instrument suites evaluated in a constellation configuration onboard the Iridium NEXT satellites are poised to provide major breakthroughs in Earth and geospace science. GEOScan commercial-of-the-shelf instruments provide low-cost space situational awareness and intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance opportunities.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 May 2012
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 8385, Sensors and Systems for Space Applications V, 83850V (24 May 2012); doi: 10.1117/12.919514
Show Author Affiliations
Lars P. Dyrud, The Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
Jonathan T. Fentzke, The Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
Kerri Cahoy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (United States)
Shawn Murphy, Draper Lab. (United States)
Warren Wiscombe, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Chad Fish, Space Dynamics Lab. (United States)
Brian Gunter, Technical Univ. of Delft (Netherlands)
Rebecca Bishop, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)
Gary Bust, Atmospheric and Space Technology Research Associates (United States)
Bob Erlandson, The Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
Brian Bauer, The Johns Hopkins Univ. Applied Physics Lab. (United States)
Om Gupta, Iridium Communications Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8385:
Sensors and Systems for Space Applications V
Khanh D. Pham; Joseph L. Cox; Richard T. Howard; Henry Zmuda, Editor(s)

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