Graduate Program in Physics with Specialization in Space Physics and Instrumentation



High Energy Particle (HEP) Lab


General Description Used to characterize the high-energy response of: Solid State Detectors (SSDs) Avalanche Photodiodes (APDs) Diamond Detectors Time-of-Flight subsystems Currently testing the Heavy Ion Sensor prototype to be flown on the Solar Orbiter spacecraft Lab Capabilities Linear acceleration voltages up to 450 kV Can achieve separation of 17 and 18 amu at the 5% level Sputtering ion ionization source for production of metallic ions (Fe, Mg, Si) Target chamber equipped with 4 degrees of freedom articulation device

High Energy Particle (HEP) Lab2020-09-19T19:45:07+00:00

Flight Software Lab


General Description Primarily for the maintenance, development, and data analysis of flight instrument software In general supports all types of instrument development from start to finish Commissioning and operations planning and support Digital hardware specification, review, and testing Lab Capabilities 9 ESD workstations (190 Sq Ft of work space) Also capable of supporting Electrical Ground Support Equipment (EGSE) design, development, and testing ESD-certified class 10000 flow workbenches for flight instrument assembly Supports Integration and Test (I&T) and calibration operations

Flight Software Lab2020-09-19T19:45:23+00:00

Experimental Space Physics Development Lab


General Description Cleanroom for the integration, assembly, and storage of engineering and flight instruments At times doubles as a practical classroom for cleanroom activities and procedures Lab Capabilities Class 10000 cleanroom with anti-room for gowning All benches are ESD compatable Flow bench (not shown in picture) Vacuum bake-out chamber (room 280) to clean parts after fabrication, before assembly Contamination free cable pass-throughs Dedicated cleanroom tools 3 GN2 purge cabinets

Experimental Space Physics Development Lab2020-09-09T16:07:25+00:00

Energetic Plasma Instrument Calibration (EPIC) Lab


General Description Advanced instrument development and calibration originally designed and built to support the Hot Plasma Composition Analyzer (HPCA) instrument for the Magnetosphere Multiscale mission (MMS) Lab Capabilities Chamber opens to a class 10000 cleanroom Ion source can go from 100 eV to 40 keV using H+, Ar+, Ne+, He+, N+ (other gasses possible) High resolution ExB filter using an adjustable magnetic field Can pump down to ~10-7 Torr 3 axis motion control system

Energetic Plasma Instrument Calibration (EPIC) Lab2020-09-09T16:07:39+00:00

Cassini Calibration Lab


General Description Controlled access laboratory to support post launch calibration, characterization, and diagnostics of the Cassini Plasma Spectrometer (CAPS) and the Cassini Ion & Neutral Mass Spectrometer (INMS) Includes the CAPS Chamber (left) and the Cassini INMS Calibration Chamber (right) Lab also includes benches available for ESD sensitive operations Lab Capabilities CAPS Chamber: Pumps down to 10-7 Torr in 10 minutes Remote monitoring of pressure, temperature, and CAPS instrument Cassini INMS Calibration Chamber: Bakeable to 250 C Gimbal motion control (+/- 10 degrees) Automated parameter control, monitoring, and recording

Cassini Calibration Lab2020-09-19T19:45:58+00:00

Burn-In-Facility (BIF) for Detectors


General Description Provides equipment and vacuum chambers needed for the burning in of MicroChannel Plates (MCPs) and Channel Electron Multipliers (CEMs) Lab Capabilities 2 Tubular vacuum chambers: 9.75" (diameter) x 17" (length) Can pumpdown to less than 10-8 Torr Multi-channel analyzer with charge amplifier to collect pulse height distributions over time Can use UV, electron, and ion flux to burn in

Burn-In-Facility (BIF) for Detectors2020-09-09T16:03:06+00:00



The Two Wide-angle Imaging Neutral-atom Spectrometers (TWINS) mission is a NASA Explorer Mission-of-Opportunity that has been stereoscopically imaging the Earth's magnetosphere since June 2008. TWINS comprises of two identical spacecraft and extends our understanding of magnetospheric structure and processes by providing simultaneous Energetic Neutral Atom (ENA) and UV (Lyman-alpha) images from two widely separated locations. Stereo imaging is yielding substantial progress in characterization of the global three-dimensional distribution of the ring current and large-scale structures in the magnetosphere. TWINS' extended science mission focus is to: Determine the structure and evolution of the storm-time magnetosphere Understand the energization [...]




Swift is a first-of-its-kind multi-wavelength observatory dedicated to the study of gamma-ray burst (GRB) science. Its three instruments work together to observe GRBs and afterglows in the gamma-ray, X-ray, ultraviolet, and optical wavebands. The main mission objectives for Swift are to: Determine the origin of gamma-ray bursts. Classify gamma-ray bursts and search for new types. Determine how the burst evolves and interacts with the surroundings. Use gamma-ray bursts to study the early universe. Perform the first sensitive hard X-ray survey of the sky. SwRI Faculty Involvement Pete Roming Alumni Involvement Janie de la Rosa, Ph.D. [...]


Solar Orbiter


Solar Orbiter, the first probe in the joint ESA-NASA HELiophysical EXplorers (HELEX) program, aims to better our understanding of the solar atmosphere and the dynamic solar wind. Solar Orbiter is scheduled to launch in 2017 with a primary mission duration of 7 years. The orbit of Solar Orbiter - between 0.9 AU at aphelion and 0.28 AU at perihelion - will allow for a comprehensive study of solar wind evolution. Additionally, over the course of the mission, Solar Orbiter will increase its inclination to the solar equator over time, through the use of gravity assists from [...]

Solar Orbiter2020-09-21T15:14:27+00:00



Rosetta The European Space Agency's Rosetta mission is a milestone in space exploration as it has successfully chased, gone into orbit around, and landed a probe on a comet. Rosetta is studying the Jupiter-family comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko with a combination of remote sensing and in situ measurements. After a 10-year tour through the solar system, Rosetta arrived at comet 67P on August 6, 2014 and deployed the Philae lander on November 12, 2014. The main goal of Rosetta is to characterize the environment surrounding the comet and the comet nucleus as the comet penetrates further into the inner [...]


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