Image: Taylor University via Chronicle-Tribune
Image: Taylor University via Chronicle-Tribune

TESTSat-Lite is a 2U CubeSat developed at Taylor University, carrying a payload that will perform measurements of the temperature and density of the plasma in the near-Earth space environment.

TSAT is equipped with particle detectors, UV radiation sensors and Electric Field and Very Low Frequency Detectors to study the environment in extremely low orbits, providing in-situ measured data on the rarely studied space weather environment at low altitudes.

Electrons are measured using Solid State Detectors. As an electron collides with the detector, a pulse is generated which can be used to measure the energy of the electron to create a spectrum of the distribution of electron events relative to time, orbital position or spacecraft attitude. Electron temperature is also measured by the plasma probe that also determines the plasma density in LEO.

The probe uses the conventional design of an electrode that sweeps a voltage range of 0 to 4 V to attract ions or electrons and measures the current introduced by the particles to create I-V plots from which temperatures and densities can be calculated.