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Explorer: SAMPEX (SMEX 1)


The main objectives of SAMPEX (Solar Anomalous & Magnetospheric Particle Explorer) experiments was to obtain data for several continuous years on the anomalous, components of cosmic rays, on energetic particle emissions from the sun, and on the precipitating magnetospheric relativistic electrons. It carries four instruments:

  • HILT (Heavy Ion Large Area Proportional Counter Telescope),
  • LEICA (Low Energy Ion Composition Analyzer),
  • MAST (Mass Spectrometer Telescope),
  • PET (Proton/Electron Telescope)

The spacecraft uses an on-board 3-axis stabilized solar pointed/momentum bias system, with the pitch axis pointed to the sun. Solar panels provide the power for the operations, including 16.7 W for the science instruments. The estimated useful lifetime of the spacecraft is about three years. An on-board DPU preprocesses the science and other data and stores them in a RPP unit of about 65 Mb, before transmitting in the S-band at a rate of 1.5 Mb/s over Wallops (or a back-up) station. The command memory can store at least a thousand commands.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Research, magnetosphere
Operator: NASA
Contractors: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Configuration: Box, 2 solar panels, 3-axis control
Propulsion: ?
Power: 2 deployable fixed solar arrays, batteries
Lifetime: 3 years (design)
Mass: 158 kg
Orbit: 520 km × 670 km, 81.67
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
SAMPEX (SMEX 1, Explorer 68) 1992-038A 03.07.1992 Va SLC-5 Scout-G1


  • NSSDC Master Catalog: SAMPEX