INSTITUTE OF COSMOS SCIENCES

University of Barcelona

SOLAR ORBITER

Organization: ESA, with strong NASA participation
Launch date: October 2018
Mission length: 7 years (nominal)
Location: Eccentric orbit (moving as close to the Sun as 0.21 AU)
Instrumentation: Solar wind analyzer (SWA), Energetic particle detector (EPD), Magnetometer (MAG), Radio and plasma waves (RPW)
Website: http://sci.esa.int/solarorbiter
OVERVIEW

The Sun is a medium mass star of the main sequence, a long and stage of its evolution. However, it experiences periodic short-term unpredictable bursts of activity known as solar activity. Space weather refers to the response of the space environment to this changing Sun. Solar activity can trigger sporadic bursts of energetic particles that cause damage to satellites and are a hazard for spacecraft systems, and a constraint on our ambitions for human activities in space. Primary radiation sources of this environment are solar energetic particles (SEPs), mainly protons and electrons, with energies up to a few GeV. They are difficult to predict due to uncertainties over the basic physical processes, and the need to access reliable data in real time. [+]

ICCUB Contribution

The ICCUB is part of the Polarimetric and Helioseismic Imager instrument for the Solar Orbiter mission (SO/ PHI). The ICCUB responsibility is the development and implementation of an Image Stabilization System (ISS) that includes a camera, a controller for a piezo-electric based Tip-Tilt mirror, and the control firmware for the FPGA that controls the whole system. The ISS has been optimized minimizing the power consumption while reaching the required performance. The system is presently at TRL-8.

A part from this, researchers from the Heliospheric Physics and Space Weather developing models to predict the harsh radiation environment that Solar Orbiter will encounter, and tools to facilitate the analysis of the particle measurements that it will gather.