The Cubesat Radio Experiment (CURE) and Beyond: Cubesat-based Low Frequency Radio Interferometry

Friday, 19 December 2014
Pascal Saint-Hilaire1, David J Sundkvist2, Juan Carlos Martinez Oliveros3, John Glen Sample1, Marc Pulupa4, Bennett Maruca1, Stuart D Bale1, John W Bonnell1, Forrest Mozer1 and Gordon J Hurford5, (1)University of California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, United States, (2)UC Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, United States, (3)Space Sciences Laboratory, Berkeley, CA, United States, (4)Univ California Berkeley, Berkeley, CA, United States, (5)Univ California, Berkeley, CA, United States
We have proposed a 3U cubesat, to carry a low-frequency radio receiver into low-Earth orbit to study solar radio bursts induced by solar flares and Coronal Mass Ejections. Because of the reflective properties of the Earth’s ionosphere, observations of radio waves around and below 10 MHz must be made from space. The measurements will allow continuous tracking of radio bursts and associated CMEs through the inner heliosphere. These observations are important since such events are the main cause for space weather disturbances. Data products from the mission will primarily be spectra and waveforms of solar radio type II and III bursts, and the direction to the radio source as it propagates through the inner heliosphere. These data products will be available to the community through an automated pipeline nominally within a few hours of downlink. Additional science data products will be sizes of radio sources obtained via lunar occultations, and local ionospheric plasma density and electron temperature. As a first cubesat with a scientific radio instrument at these frequencies, this project is also intended as a path-finder: the instrument and sub-systems can immediately be duplicated in other cubesats, with the goal of providing the first radio interferometric measurements below the ionospheric cutoff.