August 3, 2020

Meteorix

Detecting and characterizing meteors by visible and ultraviolet imagery
Prime contractorCSU CurieSat (Sorbonne University)
Launch date2021 - 2022
Launch baseTo be defined
OrbitLow Earth, Sun-synchronous, 600 km
Mission lifetimeAbout 2 years

The Meteorix project, still in its development phase, plans to build a 3U cubesat (10 x 10 x 30 cm) to observe Earth’s atmosphere and detect and image meteors—‘shooting stars’—as they enter it. Students in Paris are working with the LATMOS atmospheres, environments and space observations laboratory and the IMCCE institute of celestial mechanics and computation of ephemerides to integrate an imaging spectrometer.

The technical challenge facing the students lies in operating the instrument to detect meteors in real time and in controlling the satellite’s attitude, data transmission and flight systems.

The ability to detect meteors and characterize transient luminous events (TLEs) such as sprites, ELVES1 and halos from orbit is a key asset for observing a wide field of view free from obscuring weather conditions on the ground.

1 Emissions of Light and Very Low Frequency Perturbations due to Electromagnetic Pulse Sources

Image credits: preliminary design of the Meteorix satellite, Rambaux et al.