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Project: Space Weather Atmospheric Reconfigurable Multiscale Experiment (SWARM-EX)

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The Space Weather Atmospheric Reconfigurable Multiscale Experiment (SWARM-EX) is a National Science Foundation (NSF) sponsored CubeSat mission distributed across six colleges and universities in the United States. The project has three primary goals:

  1. Contributing to aeronomy and space weather knowledge.
  2. Demonstrating novel engineering technology.
  3. Advancing higher education.

The scientific focus of SWARM-EX is to study the spatial and temporal variability of ion-neutral interactions in the equatorial Ionosphere-Thermosphere (I-T) region. Since the mission consists of three spacecraft operating in a swarm, SWARM-EX will take in-situ measurements of the neutral and ion composition on timescales of less than an orbital period to study the persistence and correlation between different phenomena in the I-T region. The engineering objectives of SWARM-EX are focused on advancing the state of the art in spacecraft formation flying. In addition to being the first passively safe, autonomous formation of more than two spacecraft, SWARM-EX will demonstrate several other key innovations contributed by SLAB, such as a novel Guidance, Navigation and Control algorithm that exploits a hybrid propulsive and differential drag control scheme for fuel-efficient formation control, thus enabling the realization of a distributed aeronomy sensor efficiently.

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Related Publications

Agarwal, R., Oh, B., Fitzpatrick, D., Buynovskiy, A., Lowe, S., Lisy, C., Kriezis, A., Lan, B., Lee, Z., Thomas, A., Wallace, B., Costantino, E., Miner, G., Thayer, J., D’Amico, S., Lemmer, K., Lohmeyer, W., Palo, S.;
Coordinating Development of the SWARM-EX CubeSat Swarm Across Multiple Institutions ;
35th Annual Conference on Small Satellites, Utah State University, August 7-12 (2021).