Scientists develop low-energy ion spectrometer for BeiDou-3

(ORDO NEWS) — In our daily lives, we rely on weather forecasts to know if it will rain tomorrow.

Space weather monitoring and forecasting is also vital to the safe operation of satellites and the maintenance of astronauts in space.

However, space weather is much more unpredictable than the weather on Earth.

The research group headed by prof. Wang Yuming and Prof. Shan Xu, from the University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, has developed a low-energy ion spectrometer (LEIS) for use on board China’s BeiDou-3 geosynchronous satellite.

LEIS is designed to measure the energy distribution of each charge’s ions with good energy, angular, and time resolution, which is useful in space weather monitoring and early warning.

The scientific data obtained by LEIS has been published in Science China Technology Sciences.

Since 2012, the research team has been developing and implementing the LEIS payload that meets the requirements of the magnetospheric mission.

Through simulation and experimental testing, LEIS was calibrated and finally completed in 2017. This previous study was also published in Science China Technology Sciences and received positive feedback.

Building on the previous payload, the researchers further extended the detection range of LEIS, improved energy and angular resolution, and reduced power dissipation and size. The BeiDou-3 satellite was successfully launched in June 2020 with LEIS on board.

LEIS observations show an increase in ion fluxes, indicating signs of ion release due to a prominent storm or substorm and associated surface charge.

Quantitative differential ion energy flux data is consistent with previous results from NASA‘s Van-Allen Probes mission, proving that LEIS is performing well.

The reviewer noted: “The results are quite interesting, and the obtained scientific data are important for studying the dynamics of magnetospheric ions, as well as for monitoring the space environment.”


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