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CTIM-FD [University of Colorado at Boulder]

The CTIM-FD (Compact Total Irradiance Monitor Flight Demonstration) is a 6U CubeSat technology demonstration mission of a next-generation Compact Total Irradiance Monitor that will help to provide an understanding of Earth’s climate change by the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Incoming radiant energy from the sun is measured as the total solar irradiance, which is a natural factor that changes our climate (also called a climate forcing). Total solar irradiance has been measured from space by a 40-year, uninterrupted sequence of instruments. CTIM will allow measurements to be made with the same accuracy and long-term stability while using a much smaller instrument.

This eight-channel, 6U CubeSat will spend one year in orbit to see if small satellites can be as effective at measuring TSI as larger sensors like the Total Irradiance Monitor (TIM) instrument used aboard the SORCE and TSIS-1 missions.

Lighter and more compact, CTIM features several improvements to the original TIM design. In particular, CTIM’s novel Vertically Aligned Carbon Nanotube (VACNT) bolometers mark a significant milestone in the quest to develop lightweight components for CubeSat-compatible instruments. These silicon-based bolometers will dramatically reduce the weight of the CTIM CubeSat without compromising its ability to measure the total irradiance of the sun (200 – 2400 nm) with an uncertainty of <0.01% and a stability of <0.001%/year.

It was selected in 2019 by NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) to be launched as part of the ELaNa program.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Technology, Earth science
Operator: University of Colorado at Boulder
Contractors: University of Colorado at Boulder
Configuration: CubeSat (6U)
Propulsion: None
Power: Solar cells, batteries
Lifetime: 1 year
Mass: x kg
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
CTIM-FD 2022-074G 02.07.2022 Mo RW12/30 LauncherOne with Recurve, Slingshot 1, Gunsmoke-L 1, NACHOS 2, MISR-B 1, GPX 2


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