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Double Star

Launch date: 29-Dec-2003 19:06 UT and 25-Jul-2004 07:05 UT
Mission end: Nominal 18 months - extended to end 2009
Launch vehicle: Chinese Long March 2C rockets
Launch mass: 660 kg
Mission phase: Operational
Orbit: Equatorial satellite (TC-1)
  • 570 × 78 970 km, inclination 28.5° to the equator
Polar satellite (TC-2)
  • 700 × 39 000 km, inclination 90° to the equator
Achievements:
  • Study Magnetic reconnection
  • Understand and locate trigger mechanism for magnetospheric storms
  • Study physical processes such as particle acceleration, diffusion, injection and upflowing ions during storms

Double Star follows in the footsteps of ESA's ground-breaking Cluster mission by studying the effects of the Sun on the Earth's environment. Conducting joint studies with Cluster and Double Star increases the overall scientific return from both missions.

 

Mission Objectives

Double Star is the first mission launched by China to explore the Earth's magnetosphere - the magnetic bubble that surrounds our planet.

 

Mission Name

As its name suggests, Double Star involves two satellites - each designed, developed, launched, and operated by the China National Space Administration (CNSA). The two spacecraft are called TC-1 and TC-2, where TC stands for 'Tan Ce' which means 'Explorer'.

 

Spacecraft

Each DSP spacecraft is cylindrical with a 1400 mm height and 2100 mm diameter and is spin-stabilised at 15 rpm. The height of the body-mounted solar array is 740 mm. The configuration of the spacecraft is with two 2.5 m experimental rigid booms and two axial telecommunication antenna booms.

 

Instruments


Equatorial Double Star
 

Instruments PI
Active Spacecraft Potential Control (ASPOC) K. Torkar
IWF
Graz
Austria
Fluxgate Magnetometer (FGM) C. Carr
IC
United Kingdom
Plasma Electron and Current Experiment (PEACE) A. Fazakerley
MSSL
Dorking
United Kingdom
Hot Ion Analyzer (HIA), sensor 2 of CIS H. Rème
CESR
Toulouse
France
Part of Spatio-Temporal Analysis of Field Fluctuations (STAFF) + Digital Wave Processor (DWP) N. Cornilleau & H. Alleyne
CETP
Vélizy, France
Sheffield University, United Kingdom
High Energy Electron Detector (HEED) * W. Zhang and J.B. Cao
CSSAR
China
High Energy Proton Detector (HEPD) * J. Liang and J.B. Cao
CSSAR
China
Heavy Ion detector (HID) * Y. Zhai and J.B. Cao
CSSAR
China


Polar Double Star
 

Instruments PI
Neutral Atom Imager (NUADU) S.McKenna-Lawlor
STI Ltd.
National University of Ireland
Co. Kildare
Ireland
Fluxgate Magnetometer (FGM) T. Zhang
IWF
Austria
Plasma Electron and Current Experiment (PEACE) A. Fazakerley
MSSL
Dorking
United Kingdom
Low Energy Ion Detector (LEID) * Q. Ren and J.B. Cao
CSSAR
China
Low Frequency Electromagnetic Wave Detector (LFEW) * Z. Wang and J.B. Cao
CSSAR
China
High Energy Electron Detector (HEED) * W. Zhang and J.B. Cao
CSSAR
China
High Energy Proton Detector (HEPD) * J. Liang and J.B. Cao
CSSAR
China
Heavy Ion Detector (HID) * Y. Zhai and J.B. Cao
CSSAR
China

(* Instrument originated in China)

 

Orbit

The Equatorial spacecraft (TC-1) was launched into an elliptical orbit of 570 × 78 970 kilometres, inclined at 28.5° to the equator on 29 December 2003. This enables it to investigate the Earth's huge magnetic tail, the region where particles are accelerated towards the planet's magnetic poles by a process known as reconnection. TC-1's nominal period of operations is expected to be 18 months.

The Polar satellite (TC-2) was launched 25 July 2004 into a polar orbit of 700 × 39 000 kilometres. Its instruments will concentrate on the physical processes taking place over the magnetic poles and the development of auroras. It is expected to operate for at least one year.

 

Operations Centre

Data is relayed to the ESA ground station at Villafranca, Spain, and the Chinese ground stations in Beijing and Shanghai, China.

 

Last Update: 1 September 2019
24-Feb-2020 21:59 UT

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