News & Events



​NTU first space science mission: The Atmospheric Coupling and Dynamics Explorer (ARCADE) micro-satellite

Published on: 23-Aug-2019

Event Type: Seminar
Event Date: 23 August 2019 - 4:00pm to 5:00pm
Venue: ASE 3D Viz Laboratory Room (N2-B1c-16c)
Speaker: Asst. Prof. Amal Chandran

About the speaker:

Amal Chandran is an Assistant Professor at the school of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at Nanyang Technological University. He is the Associate Director for Space Technology at the Satellite Research Centre at NTU. Amal’s research interests are in the field of instrumentation for Earth remote sensing and space weather monitoring on small satellite platforms. As Assistant Professor in the School of EEE, he is developing an undergraduate and graduate curriculum to teach spacecraft design and instrumentation. He is the principal investigator on the ARCADE (Atmospheric Coupling and Dynamics Explorer) mission, a 27U microsatellite and NTU’s Student Satellite Series the SCOOBI 3U nanosatellite mission, both of which are scheduled for flight in 2020. Amal serves as Principal Investigator of INSPIRESat-1, a small satellite scheduled for flight in 2019 being developed at the University of Colorado. Before joining NTU, Amal served as Project Manager at the Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP) and adjunct professor in Aerospace engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado in Boulder, USA. Amal has supported multiple NASA cubesat and small explorer projects as project manager and engineer. He holds a PhD in Aerospace engineering from the University of Colorado. His PhD thesis involved working on NASA’s Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere (AIM) Satellite mission to analyse wave propagation and dynamics in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

About the event:

In this presentation, I shall initially describe atmospheric coupling processes which connect the lower and upper atmosphere. Of particular interest are events like stratospheric sudden warmings  which completely reverse global mean flow in the stratosphere and mesosphere. The impacts of such events are felt along the whole atmosphere from the troposphere to the thermosphere and across hemispheres.  The second part of the talk will discuss the first space science mission out of NTU’s Satellite Research Centre.  SaRC is currently developing the Atmospheric Coupling and Dynamics Explorer (ARCADE) Mission, which is flying a hall effect thruster to progressively lower the altitude from an initial 500 km to 250 km. ARCADE is the fourth satellite in the INSPIRE (International Satellite Program in Research and Education) satellite series with joint development from IIST, India and NCU, Taiwan. ARCADE is a 27U spacecraft carrying an ionospheric plasma payload which will make ion temperature, velocity, density and electron temperature measurements. The satellite will be launched along with six other Singaporean satellites on a Singapore dedicated PSLV in 2020 into a near equatorial orbit. Since the final altitude is expected to be 250 km, the ARCADE/INSPIRESat-4 mission provides an excellent opportunity to study the equatorial ionosphere at low altitudes where the ion and electron density are much higher. The mission is expected to provide new information on plasma irregularities along the magnetic equator. The mission is also a technology demonstration of a hall effect thruster developed by French Startup 'Thrust Me'. Another addition to the mission is a Spatial Heterodyne Interferometer Infra-Red Imager for imaging the Mesosphere and Lower thermosphere region between 60-120 km. The SHI instrument will provide temperature information and help for understanding the dynamics of the equatorial MLT region. The presentation will cover the teams approaches to dealing with Very Low Earth Orbit (VLEO) and the challenges it poses.

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