Polar-Ecliptic Patrol (PEP) for Solar Studies and Monitoring of Space Weather

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V. D. Kuznetsov; V. N. Oraevsky (2002), JBIS, 55, 398-403

Refcode: 2002.55.398
Keywords: Solar activity, space weather, space mission.

Two small satellites in heliocentric orbits inclined to the ecliptic plane are to be used for exploration of the Sun and monitoring of space weather in the Earth environment. The satellites achieve the inclined orbits at a distance of about 0.5 a.u. from the Sun through gravity-assisted maneuvers at the inner planets (Earth and Venus) with the aid of electric-jet engines. The orbital planes are mutually perpendicular and the satellites in orbit are spaced by a quarter of a period (the period being equal to about 130 days). This ballistic scheme ensures continuous survey of the Sun-Earth line from one, and for a considerable lapse of time from both satellites. The scheme allows exploration of the polar regions of the Sun, which are poorly seen from the ecliptic orbits. Reaching the working orbits for a reasonable time will require large energy consumption, which deter- mines the choice of small missions with a limited set of scientific instruments. The payload of a total weight no more than 50 kg will comprise instruments for remote observations of the Sun (a combined X-ray telescope/ vector-magnetograph and a coronograph or an all-sky camera) and a heliospheric complex (analyzer of solar wind and plasma particles, magnetometer, and detector of high-energy particles).

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