(ORDO NEWS) — NASA will send a joint US-Brazilian satellite to the ISS next week, from where it will be launched into space. The purpose of this mission is to study plasma bubbles that form in the ionosphere above the equator.
The Scintillation Prediction Observation Research Task (SPORT) is a joint mission between the United States and Brazil that will measure the state of the ionosphere and study the causes of plasma bubbles in this area.
The satellite, built by Brazil, will carry out scientific measurements of space weather provided by an American research team.
When radio waves from GPS satellites pass through plasma bubbles in the ionosphere, the signals can be distorted.
This distortion, known as scintillation, affects the reliability of GPS and negatively impacts the Brazilian military, agriculture, and automated landing systems at the country’s airports.
Understanding the conditions that lead to the formation of plasma bubbles will help engineers develop GPS technology that is less susceptible to scintillation.
Ground-based radios in Brazil will pick up the scintillation of waves passing through the ionosphere and compare them with satellite measurements of turbulent plasma in space.
Brazil is located near the South Atlantic Magnetic Anomaly. The researchers want to know if this location is different from other equatorial regions for plasma bubbles.
Scientists plan to use SPORT for other regions that may suffer from ionospheric disturbances.
The launch of the Sport CubeSat mission is scheduled no earlier than November 21 from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center as part of the commercial SpaceX-26 mission to deliver cargo to the International Space Station.
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