Graduate Program in Physics with Specialization in Space Physics and Instrumentation


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Tandem Reconnection and Cusp Electrodynamics Reconnaissance Satellites (TRACERS) Tandem Reconnection and Cusp Electrodynamics Reconnaissance Satellites (TRACERS) mission will consist of two identically instrumented satellites orbiting the Earth in a sun synchronous orbit with a 10s to 120s separation at the same ~500 km altitude. This orbital configuration allows TRACERS to traverse the low-altitude cusp many times throughout its two year mission lifetime. The primary science goal of TRACERS is to “discover how spatial or temporal variations in magnetic reconnection drive cusp dynamics”. TRACERS is well suited for studying this particular problem given the tandem orbital configuration [...]




Polarimeter to Unify the Corona and Heliosphere (PUNCH) PUNCH is a NASA Small Explorer mission that will make global, 3D observations of the young solar wind, from the outermost solar atmosphere to the inner heliosphere. Images of unprecedented quality will help to close a 60-year gap in measurement and understanding of what occurs in this region of space. PUNCH is scheduled to launch after Q3 of 2023. The PUNCH mission consists of a constellation of four small satellites in Sun-synchronous, low Earth orbit that together will produce deep-field, continuous, 3D images of the solar corona as [...]




Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) The Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) mission is a follow-up mission to the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX) mission. Much larger than its predecessor, IMAP will explore many different aspects of Heliophysics. IMAP is equipped with a suite of 10 instruments designed to chronicle fundamental science about the origin of particles populating interplanetary space, as well as how they interact with one another. Most notably, IMAP will continue the work of IBEX measuring energetic neutral atoms (ENAs) originating at the outer reaches of our solar system, providing high resolution, full-sky ENA [...]




The Advanced Mass, Ionic, and Charge Composition Experiment (AMICCE) is an innovative concept using an electrostatic analyzer (ESA) with variable radius of curvature that increases sensitivity of a suprathermal ion instrument (Allegrini et al. 2009, Rev. Sci. Instrum.; Allegrini et al. 2016, J. Geophys. Res.). The Advanced Mass and Ionic Charge Composition Experiment (AMICCE) combines this ESA with a proven design for measuring time-of- flight (TOF) and residual energy (E) to uniquely determine elemental, isotopic, and ionic charge composition over a wide energy range. AMICCE will measure ionic charge states of heavy ions (He-Fe; 10-500 keV/q) [...]




Graphene Carbon foils are used in space plasma instruments to detect ions, neutral atoms, or electrons (Allegrini et al. 2016, Journal of Geophysical Research). They are extremely thin (of the order of a hundred atomic layers) and supported by fine grids over areas as large as tens of square centimeters. While they enable detection and characterization of the plasma particles, they also degrade measurements (e.g., time-of-flight to determine the speed of the particles) due to effects such as angular scattering and energy straggling. These unwanted effects usually scale with foil thickness and that is why we [...]


Mikhail Sharov


Undergraduate Degree: B.A. in Astrophysics From Boston University Research Interests: Spaceflight/payload instrumentation Planetary science specifically atmospherics and surface science. Dissertation Advisor: Kurt Retherford

Mikhail Sharov2021-08-24T20:52:58+00:00

Dinesh Kumar


Dinesh Kumar Undergraduate Degree: M.Sc. (Hons) Physics B.E. (Hons) Electronics and Communications from BITS Pilani, 2019 Research Interests: Planetary Magnetosphere Planetary Lighting Payload Instrumentation Publications: V. R. Dinesh Kumar, Jayesh P. Pabari, Kinsuk Acharyya, C.T. Russell, "Venus lightning: Estimation of charge and dimensions of charge regions for lightning initiation", Icarus, Volume 365, 2021, 114473, ISSN 0019-1035 - This research was entirely carried out in India before joining the UTSA/SwRI Program. Fun Facts: I can speak 5 languages and I am currently learning 2 more. Dissertation Advisor: Stephen Fuselier

Dinesh Kumar2021-09-16T16:59:47+00:00

Patrice Smith


Patrice Smith Undergraduate Degree: B.S. Astronomy, Minor in Physics, University of Hawaii at Hilo Research Interests: Planetary Science Dissertation Advisor: Kurt Retherford

Patrice Smith2021-08-24T20:56:47+00:00

Rob Ebert


Robert Ebert Dissertation Title: Jupiter’s Magnetotail: Plasma Composition, Dusk Boundary Structure and Tail Motion Dissertation Advisor: David McComas Fellowships and Recognitions: Recognized by Who’s Who at UTSA and Who’s Who Among Students in American Colleges and Universities (2009 – 2010). UTSA Presidential Dissertation Fellowship (2009). NASA Group Achievement Award - Ulysses Mission Team (2009). National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada Postgraduate Scholarship (PGS-D2; 2008 – 2010). Graduation Date: Fall 2010 Publications: Google Scholar Post-Doctoral Fellowship: Southwest Research Institute Current Position: Southwest Research Institute – Principal Scientist & Lead Adjoint [...]

Rob Ebert2021-08-23T18:54:06+00:00
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