RAX 2 [UMich]
RAX (Radio Aurora Explorer) is a student-built nanosatellite for ionospheric research. It is built on a triple CubeSat structure.
The RAX will measure the energy flow in the ionosphere, the highest part of Earth's atmosphere where solar radiation turns regular atoms into charged particles.
RAX is a Ground-to-Space Bistatic Radar Experiment. The RAX satellite will act as a receiver that will pick up signals from a ground radar transmitter. These radar pulses will reflect off disturbances, or space weather phenomena, in the ionosphere.
RAX 1 was launched in 2010 as a piggy-back payload on a Minotaur-4 HAPS launch vehicle. It suffered from an anomaly on the solar panels, which resulted in degradation of power generation until, after several months, RAX-1 was unable to generate power. This anomaly ultimately resulted in the premature end of the mission. Despite this early end, the RAX-1 mission still made great strides in CubeSat design, and was able to execute bistatic radar measurements that had never before been performed with a CubeSat. All other subsystems also performed well.
The team was applying the lessons learned from RAX-1 to the design of a second flight unit, RAX-2, which was launched on a Delta-7920-10C through the NASA Educational Launch of Nanosatellites (ELaNa-3) program in October 2011.
|Type / Application:||Ionospheric research|
|Operator:||SRI International, University of Michigan|
|Contractors:||SRI International, University of Michigan, Pumpkin, Inc. (bus)|
|Power:||Solar cells, batteries|
|Orbit:||641 km × 652 km, 72°|
|RAX 1 (USA 218)||2010-062B||20.11.2010||Kd LP-1||Minotaur-4 HAPS||with STPSat 2, FASTRAC 1, FASTRAC 2, FalconSat 5, FASTSat-HSV 01, O/OREOS, NanoSail-D2, Ballast A, Ballast B|
|RAX 2||2011-061D||28.10.2011||Va SLC-2W||Delta-7920-10C||with NPP, DICE 1, DICE 2, AubieSat 1, M-Cubed/COVE, E1P U2|