Astrid-2, an advanced microsatellite for auroral research
Abstract. The successful launch of the Swedish microsatellite Astrid-2 in December 1998 began a new era of auroral research, with advanced microprobes of 30 kg or less used as research tools. Innovative technologies and low-mass solutions were used for the sensors and deployment systems to allow a fairly complete set of scientific instruments within the 10 kg allocated for the scientific payload. A newly developed wire boom deployment system proved to function excellently. During its seven month lifetime Astrid-2 collected more than 26 Gbytes of high-quality data of auroral electric and magnetic fields, and auroral particle and plasma characteristics from approximately 3000 orbits at an inclination of 83° and an altitude of about 1000 km. Scientific results cover a broad range of topics, from the physics of energization of auroral particles to how the magnetosphere responds to the energy input from the solar wind and global magnetic field modelling. The fulfilment of both the technological and the scientific mission objectives has opened entirely new possibilities to carry out low-budget multipoint measurements in near-Earth space.
Key words. Ionosphere (auroral ionosphere; instruments and techniques) – Magnetospheric physics (auroral phenomena)