DARIS, a fleet of passive formation flying small satellites for low frequency radio astronomy

Noah Saks, Albert Jan Boonstra, Raj Thilak Rajan, Raj Rajan, Marinus Jan Bentum, Frederik Beliën, Kees van 't Klooster

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    Abstract

    DARIS (Distributed Aperture Array for Radio Astronomy In Space) is a mission to conduct radio astronomy in the low frequency region from 1-10MHz. This region has not yet been explored, as the Earth's ionosphere is opaque to those frequencies, and so a space based observatory is the only solution. DARIS will undertake an extragalactic survey of the low frequency sky, and can also detect some transient radio events such as solar or planetary bursts. To achieve these scientific objectives, DARIS comprises a space-based array, forming a very large effective aperture, as required for such a long wavelength survey. Each station in the array (each required to be a small satellite to ensure several nodes can be flown) carries three orthogonal dipole antennas, each 5m in length. The more station nodes in the array, the more sensitive the antenna. The entire fleet remains within a 100km diameter cloud. A very large data volume is generated by each node, as the antennas have to capture all radio signals, after which the data can be correlated to find the astronomical signal in the noise. As the astronomical signals also have a noise-like nature, no compression is possible on the data captured by the nodes. The data volume is too high to transfer directly to Earth, and will need to be correlated in space. Distributed correlation between the nodes is technically challenging, and therefore a mothership acts as the central correlator and then downlinks the correlated data (lower volume) to Earth.
    Original languageUndefined
    Title of host publicationSmall Satellite Systems and Services - The 4S Symposium 2010
    Place of PublicationPortugal
    PublisherESA en CNES
    Pages1-15
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Print)not assigned
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2010

    Publication series

    Name
    PublisherESA en CNES

    Keywords

    • METIS-275754
    • EWI-19024
    • IR-75122

    Cite this

    Saks, N., Boonstra, A. J., Rajan, R. T., Rajan, R., Bentum, M. J., Beliën, F., & van 't Klooster, K. (2010). DARIS, a fleet of passive formation flying small satellites for low frequency radio astronomy. In Small Satellite Systems and Services - The 4S Symposium 2010 (pp. 1-15). Portugal: ESA en CNES.