SPORT Satellite First Light: Observations of Plasma Bubbles

The Scintillation Prediction Observations Research Task (SPORT) 6U CubeSat, deployed into a 52-degree, 405-km orbit on 12/28/22, is making numerous observations of equatorial plasma bubbles.  Ground stations resolved spacecraft tracking issues, the science scheduler is working on auto mode, and multiple sets of science data are being downloaded almost every day. Though the ADCS achieved three-axis stabilization for a brief time, a reset of the flight computer resulted in the loss of stabilization, and it was never recovered.  However, the science data obtained to date have not only shown numerous equatorial plasma bubbles, but they have provided new insight into the small-scale structure of plasma density and currents on the walls of large, deep depletions.  The Science Team believes this new insight can be helpful in advancing the state-of-the-art in scintillation forecasting, which can be verified through future collaborations with physics-based modelers.  The satellite is expected to re-enter in September.  The team is working on a mission paper for the journal Space Science Reviews.

SPORT Deployment 2
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