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INCA (Ionospheric Neutron Content Analyzer) is a scientific investigation mission conducted by the New Mexico State University (NMSU), that will study the latitude and time dependencies of the neutron spectrum in low-Earth orbit for the first time to improve current space weather models and mitigate threats to space and airborne assets.

The measurements will come from a new directional neutron spectrometer, which is being developed in conjunction with NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center and the University of New Hampshire. It is being adapted from Solar Probe Plus Ion Neutron & Gamma-ray Spectrometer (SPRINGS) design.

INCA is built on a 3U CubeSat satellite bus.

The mission objectives are to:

  • To demonstrate the functionality of Scintillator/SiPM-based neutron spectrometer in Low Earth Orbit.
  • To gather neutron flux data and corresponding latitude metadata from at least three latitudinal zones.
  • To detect a primary solar neutron event.

It was selected in 2016 by NASA's CubeSat Launch Initiative (CSLI) program to be launched as part of the ELaNa program.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Ionospheric Research
Operator: New Mexico State University (NMSU)
Contractors: New Mexico State University (NMSU)
Equipment: Directional neutron spectrometer
Configuration: CubeSat (3U)
Propulsion: None
Power: Deployable fixed solar array, batteries
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
INCA - 2019 Mo RW12/30 LauncherOne with CACTUS 1, ExoCube 2, MicroMAS 2b, MiTEE 1, PolarCube, Q-PACE, TechEdSat 7, RadFxSat 2, CAPE 3, PICS 1, PICS 2, SHFT 2, IMPACT 2A, IMPACT 2B