Space Weather and Solar-terrestrial Science Mission

The space weather related problems and research currently attract wide attention of scientific and technical community in many countries. The INTERBALL-PROGNOZ project is thought to be one of the segments of the future national Space Weather program. This multi spacecraft multidisciplinary mission is a joint project of Russian and Ukrainian institutions. It will include the high-apogee spacecraft INTERBALL-3 of the "PROGNOZ-M1" type (the same as used in the INTERBALL project, provide by Russian collaborators) and three low-apogee micro-satellites launched on the same orbit in the ionosphere (provided by Ukrainian collaborators). INTERBALL-PROGNOZ is designed as the low-cost fast-track mission widely relying on experience and spare hardware of the INTERBALL project to serve the broad range of scientific and technical goals. The project is now under consideration of the Russian Aviation and Space Agency and Ukrainian National Space Agency. In a case of approval, the launch of the project is expected in 2005.

PROGNOZ-M spacecraft (INTERBALL-2).

The main scientific objectives of the mission are:

In order to meet all requirements of the research program, the following orbital scenario was designed for the INTERBALL-3 spacecraft:

  1. Launch in the Sun-Earth L1 point fly-by orbit and return to Earth. Duration of this stage of the flight will be 3-4 months.
  2. Transfer (apogee lowering) to near-Earth elliptic orbit with apogee 350000-400000 km. Other parameters of the orbit will be selected to maximize the spacecraft location inside the magnetotail. Duration of this stage is planned to be 2-3 years.
  3. Transfer to L2 fly-by orbit. This stage is currently considered as optional.

INTERBALL-3 orbit (1st and 2nd stages) with daily tick marks.

The transfer to the L1 orbit will be performed by means of standard MOLNIYA launcher. The transition from this orbit to elliptic orbit with apogee 350000 km (required DV is 150 m/s) will be performed by means of additional spacecraft engine to be installed onboard INTERBALL-3. The optional maneuver to the L2 orbit will require the Moon gravity assist.

The experiment on microwave background measurements requires special ballistic conditions to operate successfully. (Sun, Moon and Earth should be out of field of view of telescopes.) It is estimated that with proposed orbital scenario sufficiently sensitive microwave measurements will be possible during 50% of time.

Low apogee micro-spacecraft and orbit.

The low apogee satellites will be placed on the approx. 700 km high circular sun synchronous orbit oriented along dusk-dawn meridian Such orientation of the orbit is necessary for successful monitoring of the cross-polar cap potential. The spacecraft separation will be adjusted during the mission in order to carry out a number of active and passive ionospheric experiments. For this project the novel micro-sat is now being designed by "Yuzhnoe" space center in Dnepropetrovck, Ukraine. All three satellites will be launched together by TSIKLON or DNEPR launcher.

Contact addresses: L.Zelenyi or A.Petrukovich

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