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Scientific data from Chibis-M sat to come in 2-3 weeks

January 25, 2012, 11:43 UTC+3

The spacecraft will be controlled from Kaluga

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Photo © NASA

Photo © NASA

MOSCOW, January 25 (Itar-Tass) — The Chibis-M microsatellite, which was launched from the Progress cargo spacecraft on Wednesday, will start to transmit scientific data in 2-3 weeks, Director of the Space Research Institute (IKI) of the Russian Academy of Sciences Academician Lev Zeleny said.

“In 2-3 weeks this spacecraft will begin scientific measurements,” he said after the successful launch of the satellite. These scientific data will be received by the ground complex in Tarusa, as well as in the Czech Republic. The spacecraft will be controlled from Kaluga.

Chibis-M (M means “lightning”), designed for the study of lightning, has become the first academic microsatellite of the Academy of Sciences, Zeleny said. Before, all the launched spacecraft were student satellites (as, for example, the Tatiana and Tatiana-2 satellites of Lomonosov Moscow State University (MSU).

Its service life is at least a year, but the Chibis-M is designed so that it can survive for five years, the institute director said. To extend the spacecraft’s service life its orbit was raised to 500 kilometres, and if no major solar flares occur, the satellite will transmit important information during several years.

These data will be used not only by scientists, but also by students and schoolchildren. Various educational centres: the Moscow Institute of Aviation (MAI), the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (Fiztekh) and, of course, Skobeltsin Institute of Nuclear Physics, Moscow State University (SINP MSU) will join the work with the Chibis-M satellite. In addition, at the frequencies of 145 and 435 MHz amateur radio network has begun to work, and even schoolchildren can connect to it.

The Chibis-M, delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) in early November 2011 on the Progress M-13M spaceship is designed for conducting a new geophysical experiment entitled Microsatellite, which envisages a comprehensive study of physical processes in atmospheric lightning discharges in a wide range of energies - from radio to gamma radiation. The mass of the microsatellite, is 34.4 kg, the mass of scientific instruments on board is about 12 kilograms. It consists of an X-ray gamma radiation detector, UV detector, an RF analyzer, a digital camera of optical range, as well as a set of plasma-wave devices.

According to Zeleny, Chibis-M cost approximately 50 - 55 million roubles. The Academy of Sciences provided the largest share - about 45 million roubles. In addition, SINP MSU, according to the academician, has made instruments with its own money, and another two instruments were provided free of charge by Ukraine and Hungary. In addition to the sum for the spacecraft, the Academy of Sciences provided sufficient funds for controlling the satellite.

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