INSTRUMENTS FOR SCIENCE MISSIONS

ALTIUS

The Atmospheric Limb Tracker for Investigation of the Upcoming Stratosphere (ALTIUS) mission in ESA’s Earth Watch program will monitor the vertical distribution and evolution of ozone in the Earth’s atmosphere. The ALTIUS satellite carries an instrument that images in the ultraviolet (UV), visible and near-infrared channels. In the UV channel of the ALTIUS instrument, the desired wavelength is selected by a tunable optical band-pass filter assembly. The filter is based on four successive Fabry-Perot interferometers (FPI). The consortium for Phase B2/C/D of the FPI Filter development is led by ASRO, who is also responsible for electronics development. 

Mini Fluorescence Microscope (MFM)

ASRO developed a prototype of a miniaturised fluorescence microscope for life sciences in space together with the University of Turku’s Biophysics laboratory under European Space Agency’s technology development programme. The resulting instrument has dimensions of approximately 82 mm x 42 mm x 33 mm and consists of four custom subsystem modules: optics, cell culture chamber, mechanics and electronics. The instrument has two excitation wavelengths and achieves an optical resolution of 530 nm. In addition, an electrical ground support equipment and µManager user interface were developed during the activity. 

BepiColombo / SIXS-P

Solar Intensity X-ray and Particle Spectrometer (SIXS) is a joint project of ESA and JAXA, and one of the scientific payloads to fly on the BepiColombo Planetary Orbiter that is studying Mercury. SIXS consists of two subsystems: an X-ray detector (SIXS-X) and a particle detector (SIX-P) that operate independently but are packaged into the same sensor unit housing. ASRO designed the readout electronics for the particle detector and played an important role in designing, testing and calibrating the particle detector.

Aalto-1 / RADMON

ASRO was involved in developing the University of Turku’s RADMON radiation detection instrument, which was carried on Aalto University’s Aalto-1 nanosatellite.

International Space Station / AMS

The Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer (AMS-02) is a state-of-the-art particle physics detector that operates as an external module on the International Space Station (ISS). ASRO supplied software for the AMS ground support equipment.

CPT

The Charged Particle Telescope (CPT) was designed to measure ionizing solar wind radiation in near-Earth space from a satellite. ASRO carried out a phase A study for an instrument that can provide high-precision data for scientific purposes and technology applications.

EPT

The Energetic Particle Telescope (EPT) is a compact and modular ionizing particle radiation spectrometer. It is designed for the near-Earth space environment, particularly for various parts of the radiation belts. ASRO did the design and processing for the silicon detectors in the A/B/C stages in cooperation with the Microelectronics Laboratory at the University of Turku.

Solar Orbiter / LET

The Low Energy Telescope (LET) particle detector was designed for ESA’s Solar Orbiter (SolO). The detector was designed to identify solar wind elements from hydrogen to nickel with excellent element and energy resolution. ASRO designed the readout electronics for the detector, including the FPGA development work for the demonstration model.

Solar and Heliospheric Observatory / ERNE

Solar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) is a joint research program run by the ESA and NASA. The SOHO space probe is studying the deep core of the sun, the corona and solar winds. ASRO’s founders played a key role in developing SOHO’s Energetic and Relativistic Nuclei and Electron (ERNE) particle detector. The development work covered the design and testing of ERNE’s sensors, electronics, on-board data analysis software and ground support equipment as well as calibration of the instrument after its completion. SOHO and ERNE are still in operation, and this successful research program has already continued for over 20 years.