Russian microsatellite "Chibis-M" launched into a working orbit on January 25, the press service of the Space Research Institute. The device is designed to study lightning from space to the Earth’s atmosphere and became the first microsatellite, implemented on a special platform, "Chibis", designed and created at the Institute of Space Research.
Microsatellite "Chibis-M" in a special transport and launch container (TLC) was brought on board the International Space Station freight cargo ship "Progress M-13M" November 2, 2011 after undocking from the ISS on January 24 2:00 09 minutes 35 seconds Moscow time on the ship "Progress M-13M", using additional fuel, rose to a higher orbit of 500 km, where telecommand on "Progress" microsatellite "Chibis-M" self "out" of the WPK and began autonomous flight.
Terrestrial thunderstorms, despite the high frequency of symptoms — a phenomenon not fully studied. The big surprise for the researchers was the fact that during lightning discharges occurring gamma-ray bursts. Such outbreaks for the first time in 1994 registered a companion BATSE (Cosmic Gamma-Ray Observatory Compton, NASA). This phenomenon is called "atmospheric gamma-ray burst» (TGF — Terrestrial Gamma-Flash). Their position on the map of the Earth is in good agreement with those areas where thunderstorms occur most frequently.
Trying to explain gamma-ray bursts has led physicists from the Institute of Physics. PN Lebedev Physical Institute, headed by Academician Alexander Gurevich to the so-called model of runaway breakdown. In general, it looks like. If the system to make a significant electric field, the collision would not be able to stop the electrons that are free to begin to accelerate. Striking the molecules of the medium, they will become an avalanche release other high-energy electrons. So there is a breakdown.
In the case of thunderstorms, according to the theory, the required electric field is generated by electric charges in the clouds, and then accelerated particles leave the atmosphere, giving rise to gamma radiation. In the direction of "down" to the Earth, it absorbs the atmosphere, but in the direction of "up" into space, it passes freely and may be registered devices to be installed on the spacecraft.
Microsatellite "Chibis-M" was created specifically to test this theory in the Space Research Institute RAS, together with other research organizations. The prefix "micro" means that the mass of the satellite is 100 kg — and, indeed, the "Chibis-M" on Earth weighs only 40 kg, of which about one third is spent on complex scientific instruments (KPA) "The Storm". For the first time on the same satellite will be installed set of instruments, "overlapping" range from gamma to radio. Thus, the researchers want to "see" the largest possible number of processes that occur during lightning discharge.
KPA "The Storm" is unique because it includes the X-ray detectors, gamma, ultraviolet and radio emission (30-50 MHz), generated by lightning discharge at an altitude of 13-20 km. In the KPA also includes instruments for the study of plasma oscillations. To understand whether these are accompanied by flashes of lightning radiation, the KPA equipped with a digital camera.
Detection of X-ray and gamma radiation (RGD) and the UV detector (DUF) set up at the Research Institute of Nuclear Physics. DV Skobel’tsyn MSU. Radio frequency analyzer RFA created in IKI. In the KPA also includes a digital camera DSC (IKI), which will take pictures of the Earth in the optical and detector analyzers electromagnetic radiation (0,1-40000 Hz) — magnetic plasma complex ERM created by the Lviv Center of the Institute of Space Research of the National Academy of Sciences Ukraine and National Space Agency of Ukraine and the University Eötvös (Hungary).
"Chibis-M" is in line with several devices that are also involved in the study of lightning discharges and phenomena in the upper atmosphere. Among them — Firefly (NASA variant CubeSat) and Taranis (French Space Agency CNES, starting in 2015).
In addition to the scientific program, micro-satellite "Chibis-M" is important in that it was the first small device created on the basis of a special micro-satellite platform "Chibis". This platform was developed as part of the academic program "Creating and using a micro-satellite platforms of the Russian Academy of Sciences for fundamental and applied space research." In the Special Design Bureau of IKI conducted not only the design and manufacturing of micro-satellite, but the full cycle of its electrical and command information, vibro-impact, thermal vacuum tests. Has also been established and ground infrastructure for receiving and processing data from the satellite. Reception Centre and management of micro-organized by the Special Design Bureau of Space Instrument IKI in Tarus (Kaluga region)..
Satellite "Chibis-M" — the first in a line of small vehicles, implemented on a platform of "Chibis". However, now in the SRI is working on research for the next load of microsatellite, whose mission — to monitor greenhouse gases (primarily carbon dioxide), and catastrophic events on the surface, in the atmosphere and ionosphere. Finally, it discusses the third microsatellite for Regional Studies "BalkanSat."
It should be noted that the Space Research Institute has not previously been developed to apply the method of using the infrastructure of the Russian segment of the ISS to remove micro from the board of transport and cargo ship (THC) "Progress". After undocking from the station THC rises to a higher orbit, and then using microsatellite TPK sent in solo flight. A similar method was used in 2001, when it was put into orbit created in the Space Research Institute of the Russian-Australian scientific and educational microsatellite "Kolibri-2000". This apparatus, except for scientific, educational and performing the task — it could take the data involved in the project secondary schools Russia and Australia.
The program of "Chibis-M" also provides educational programs developed SINP and IKI for universities and schools.
According to the press service of the Space Research Institute