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About ST5
  Mission Concept

The goal of the Space Technology 5 (ST5) mission was to reduce the weight, size, and cost of space missions while increasing their technical capabilities and concepts. The mission was managed out of Goddard Space Flight Center.

Magnetosphere of Earth affected by solar events
Artist's concept of the magnetosphere
as affected by a solar event.

ST5's micro-sats flew within the magnetosphere that surrounds our planet like a shield. While testing its "small size" concept and multiple technologies, ST5 mapped the intensity and direction of the magnetic fields within the inner magnetosphere closest to Earth. Collected data has been returned to scientists on the ground for analysis. ST5 will certify the suitability of these small, densely packed satellites as platforms for making scientific measurements.

Flying clusters of multiple satellites reduces the risk of an entire mission failing if one system or instrument fails. Additionally, the ability to perform multiple measurements within the magnetosphere provides scientists a better understanding of changes occurring in this harsh environment. Future micro-sat or nanosat missions, with tens to a hundred spacecraft, must be capable of responding to changes in the charged particles and magnetic fields that sweep over them every few seconds to few minutes.

Results from this mission will aid scientists in NASA's Sun-Earth-Connection field of research to plan future micro-sat or nanosat missions, such as the Magnetospheric Constellation mission. This "constellation" of hundreds of nanosats will explore the transport of the Sun's plasma and the processes that convert energy occuring within the "tail" of Earth's magnetosphere. Such exploration may enable scientists to construct a reliable method of predicting magnetospheric meteorology, "space weather."

Introduction   |   Mission Concept

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   Webmaster: Diane K. Fisher
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   Last Updated:  04 / 05