Articles | Volume 23, issue 8
Ann. Geophys., 23, 2733–2756, 2005

Special issue: Double Star - First Results

Ann. Geophys., 23, 2733–2756, 2005

  08 Nov 2005

08 Nov 2005

The Double Star Plasma Electron and Current Experiment

A. N. Fazakerley1, P. J. Carter*,1, G. Watson1, A. Spencer1, Y. Q. Sun2, J. Coker1, P. Coker1, D. O. Kataria1, D. Fontaine3, Z. X. Liu2, L. Gilbert1, L. He1,**, A. D. Lahiff1, B. Mihalčič1, S. Szita1, M. G. G. T. Taylor1,***, R. J. Wilson1, M. Dedieu3, and S. J. Schwartz4 A. N. Fazakerley et al.
  • 1Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London, Holmbury St. Mary, Dorking, Surrey, RH5 6NT, UK
  • 2Center for Space Science and Applied Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, P.O. Box 8701, 100080 Beijing, China
  • 3Centre d’Etude des Environnements Terrestre et Planétaires, IPSL, 10–12 Av. de l’Europe, 78 140 Vélizy, France
  • 4Space and Atmospheric Physics Group, The Blackett Laboratory, Imperial College London, Prince Consort Road, London, SW7 2BW, UK
  • *now at: UK Astronomy Technology Centre, Royal Observatory Edinburgh, Blackford Hill, Edinburgh, EH9 3HJ, UK
  • **now at: Department of Physics, University of Alberta, Edmonton, T6G 2J1, Canada
  • ***now at: Research and Scientific Support Department, ESA/ESTEC/SCI-SH, Keperlaan 1, 2201 AZ Noordwijk ZH, Thehina Netherlands

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.