Articles | Volume 23, issue 8
08 Nov 2005
 | 08 Nov 2005

The Double Star Plasma Electron and Current Experiment

A. N. Fazakerley, P. J. Carter, G. Watson, A. Spencer, Y. Q. Sun, J. Coker, P. Coker, D. O. Kataria, D. Fontaine, Z. X. Liu, L. Gilbert, L. He, A. D. Lahiff, B. Mihalčič, S. Szita, M. G. G. T. Taylor, R. J. Wilson, M. Dedieu, and S. J. Schwartz

Abstract. The Double Star Project is a collaboration between Chinese and European space agencies, in which two Chinese magnetospheric research spacecraft, carrying Chinese and European instruments, have been launched into equatorial (on 29 December 2003) and polar (on 25 July 2004) orbits designed to enable complementary studies with the Cluster spacecraft. The two Double Star spacecraft TC-1 and TC-2 each carry a Double Star Plasma Electron and Current Experiment (PEACE) instrument. These two instruments were based on Cluster Flight Spare equipment, but differ from Cluster instruments in two important respects. Firstly, a Double Star PEACE instrument has only a single sensor, which must be operated in a manner not originally envisaged in the Cluster context in order to sample the full range of energies. Secondly, the DPU hardware was modified and major changes of onboard software were implemented, most notably a completely different approach to data compression has been adopted for Double Star, which allows high resolution 3-dimensional distributions to be transmitted almost every spin, a significant improvement over Cluster. This paper describes these instruments, and includes examples of data collected in various magnetospheric regions encountered by the spacecraft which have been chosen to illustrate the power of combined Double Star and Cluster measurements.