ALPHA is an Italian Space mission involving a 1U CubeSat, a satellite as big as a box with a 10 cm edge, designed and developed to be launched on-board VEGA-C maiden flight. Main goals are to perform scientific experiments to deepen the knowledge of our Solar System, and to demonstrate innovative technologies to enhance the quality of life on Earth.
Proprietary cubesat subsystems
he mission will take place in a Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), at approximately 15 times the altitude of the International Space Station (ISS). At this altitude, 6.000 km circa, ALPHA will be in an extremely harsh radiative environment, called the inner Van Allen belt, where the Earth’s magnetic field traps harmful solar wind and cosmic rays radiations.
Under these conditions, ALPHA will perform scientific experiments to better understand magnetosphere related phenomena, such as Northern lights and southern aurora, and the demonstration of innovative technologies designed and developed to mitigate the effects of radiations :
1. an experimental radiation sensor
2. innovative fluid-dynamics based devices
3. a radiation hardened Electrical Power System (EPS) board
4. an ultra-compact On-Board Computer (OBC)
5. a cutting-edge deployable solar sail
On-board experiments and technologies have a direct impact on the well-being of society on Earth:
What can enable the development of biomedical machines that deal with radiations if not a radiation hardened technology demonstrated in Space?
How do we keep Space clean if not with deorbiting devices such as solar sails?
Moreover, green renewable energy can benefit from the exploitation of safe and reliable fluid-dynamics devices, whereas the novel OBC will contribute to the development of IOT infrastructures in harsh environments.
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