The Ionospheric Plasma Research Experiment - ASUSat 1 and advanced spacecraft technology applications Conference Paper uri icon


  • 1996 by AIAA. All rights reserved. The Ionospheric Plasma Research Experiment (IPRE) is a proposed primary scientific and engineering payload for Arizona State University's (ASU) student-designed satellite program. The experiment is a spin-off of the ASUSat 1 project, which is scheduled for launch in March 1997 on an Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC) Pegasus launch vehicle. The IPRE and its surrounding satellite bus is a 4.5 kg nano-satellite, designed to demonstrate new space technologies and perform ionospheric science in LEO. Mission requirements include a 325 km altitude, 97, inclination, sun- synchronous 6 am - 6 pm orbit. The IPRE payload consists of a group of integrated instruments and sensors designed to utilize solar power and ionospheric plasma for low-thrust propulsion, attitude control, and electrical power generation experiments. Propulsion devices that use the naturally occurring plasma of a planet's ionosphere eliminate the need for on-board propellant supplies and provide the capability of maintaining low altitude orbits indefinitely. In this manner, the spacecraft's lifetime is dependent only upon the longevity of its components and not upon fuel availability. The IPRE objectives are therefore to evaluate and demonstrate Ionospheric Plasma Technology as a viable alternative to conventional small-spacecraft propulsion systems and provide a foundation for the design of a new generation of smaller, more efficient, advanced-technology spacecraft.

name of conference

  • 34th Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit

published proceedings

  • 34th Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit

author list (cited authors)

  • Hewett, C., Rademacher, J., Reed, H., & Puig-Suari, J.

citation count

  • 1

complete list of authors

  • Hewett, Charles||Rademacher, Joel||Reed, Helen||Puig-Suari, Jordi

publication date

  • January 1996