Encyclopedia Astronautica
SAMPEX


American earth magnetosphere satellite. One launch, 1992.07.03.

SAMPEX was designed to study the energy, composition and charge states of four classes of charged particles that originated beyond the Earth: (1) galactic cosmic rays (from supernova explosions in the Milky Way Galaxy); (2) anomalous cosmic rays (from the interstellar gas surrounding our solar system); (3) solar energetic particles (from explosions in the solar atmosphere); and (4) magnetospheric electrons (particles from the solar wind trapped by the Earth's magnetic field).

SAMPEX was the first of NASA's Small Explorer (SMEX) missions. SAMPEX observations were designed to provide new information on the cosmic abundances of elements and their isotopes, the composition of local interstellar gas, the solar composition and the mechanisms responsible for solar atmospheric heating, and electron energy injection into the Earth's upper atmosphere.

The single string architecture satellite used a momentum-bias control system with 1 momentum wheel and 3 torque rods for vehicle pointing. Attitude knowledge was better than 2 deg (3 sigma). Attitude sensing was via sun sensors, star sensors, and a magnetometer. Two deployable, articulated solar panels with GaAs cells provided 102 W orbit average power (no eclipse) and recharged one 9 A-hr NiCd battery. The aluminum structure bus used passive thermal control. Two omni antennas and near-Earth 5 W S-band transponders provided communications. The payload used solid-state memory and a fiber optic Mil-Std 1773 data bus.

SAMPEX carried 4 instruments:

  • HILT (Heavy Ion Large Area Proportional Counter Telescope) measured heavy ions from 8 to 220 MeV/nucleon for oxygen.
  • LEICA (Low Energy Ion Composition Analyzer) measured 0.5 to 5 MeV for solar and magnetospheric ions. LEICA and HILT were originally designed and constructed as Get-Away-Specials for shuttle flight.
  • MAST (Mass Spectrometer Telescope) measured isotropic composition of elements from Li to Ni in the range of 10 MeV to several hundred MeV.
  • PET (Proton/Electron Telescope) complemented MAST by measuring the energy spectra and relative composition of protons (18 to 250 MeV) and helium nuclei (18 to 350 MeV/nuclei) of solar, interplanetary, and galactic origins, and the energy spectra of solar flare and precipitating electrons from 0.4 to 30 MeV.

AKA: Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer.
Gross mass: 158 kg (348 lb).
Height: 1.50 m (4.90 ft).
First Launch: 1992.07.03.
Number: 1 .

More... - Chronology...


Associated Countries
See also
  • Scout Solid-fuel, light payload, lower-cost launch vehicle developed by the Air Force and NASA in the late 1950's and used in a variety of configurations over thirty years. Launched from Cape Canaveral, Vandenberg, Wallops Island, and from Italy's equatorial San Marco platform off Kenya. Italy studied but did not develop subsequent upgraded versions. More...

Associated Launch Vehicles
  • Scout American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Solid-fuel, light payload, lower-cost launch vehicle developed by the Air Force and NASA in the late 1950's and used in a variety of configurations over thirty years. Launched from Cape Canaveral, Vandenberg, Wallops Island, and from Italy's equatorial San Marco platform off Kenya. Italy studied but did not develop subsequent upgraded versions. More...
  • Scout G American all-solid orbital launch vehicle. Four stage vehicle consisting of 1 x Algol 3A + 1 x Castor 2 + 1 x Antares 3 + 1 x Star 20 More...

Associated Manufacturers and Agencies
  • NASA American agency overseeing development of rockets and spacecraft. National Aeronautics and Space Administration, USA, USA. More...

Associated Programs
  • Small Explorer A series of relatively low-cost satellites launched by NASA for solar and astronomical studies. More...

Bibliography
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Jonathan's Space Home Page (launch records), Harvard University, 1997-present. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • JPL Mission and Spacecraft Library, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, 1997. Web Address when accessed: here.
  • McDowell, Jonathan, Launch Log, October 1998. Web Address when accessed: here.

Associated Launch Sites
  • Vandenberg Vandenberg Air Force Base is located on the Central Coast of California about 240 km northwest of Los Angeles. It is used for launches of unmanned government and commercial satellites into polar orbit and intercontinental ballistic missile test launches toward the Kwajalein Atoll. More...
  • Vandenberg SLC5 Scout launch complex. Dedicated Scout launch pad, used during the life of that vehicle from 1962 to 1994. More...

SAMPEX Chronology


1992 July 3 - . 14:19 GMT - . Launch Site: Vandenberg. Launch Complex: Vandenberg SLC5. LV Family: Scout. Launch Vehicle: Scout G. LV Configuration: Scout G-1 S215C.
  • SAMPEX - . Mass: 158 kg (348 lb). Nation: USA. Agency: NASA Greenbelt. Program: Small Explorer. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere satellite. Spacecraft: SAMPEX. USAF Sat Cat: 22012 . COSPAR: 1992-038A. Apogee: 670 km (410 mi). Perigee: 506 km (314 mi). Inclination: 81.7000 deg. Period: 96.50 min. Summary: First Small Explorer mission; Solar Anomalous and Magnetospheric Particle Explorer. Spacecraft engaged in research and exploration of the upper atmosphere or outer space (US Cat B)..

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