Satellite name RAX (Radio Aurora eXplorer)
Spacecraft type CubeSat
Units or mass 3U
Status Was operational until 2011-01-19, 2 months. Solar panel degradation.
Launched 2010-11-20
NORAD ID 37223
Deployer P-POD (Poly-Picosatellite Orbital Deployer)
Launcher Minotaur IV
Organisation University of Michigan
Institution University
Entity Academic / Education
Nation US
Launch brokerer Cal Poly, ?
Partners SRI, National Science Foundation

Investigate causes of upper atmospheric/ionospheric plasma turbulence by studying large plasma formations.


Investigate causes of upper atmospheric/ionospheric plasma turbulence. Study large plasma formations in the ionosphere, the highest region of our atmosphere. These plasma instabilities are known to spawn magnetic field-aligned irregularities (FAI), or dense plasma clouds known to disrupt communication between Earth and orbiting spacecraft.

Will utilize a large incoherent scatter radar in Poker Flats, Alaska (known as PFISR). PFISR will transmit powerful radio signals into the plasma instabilities that will be scattered into space and RAX will be recording the scatter signals with an onboard receiver.

Failure cause Solar panel degradation.
Sources [1] [2] [3] [4] [5]
Photo sources [1] [2] [3] [4]

Last modified: 2023-06-08

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