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PICASSO: a PICo-satellite for Atmospheric and Space Science Observations

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PICASSO is an ESA In-Orbit-Demonstration CubeSat mission initiated by BIRA-IASB. With this miniature low-cost satellite, the ambition is to retrieve the ozone distribution in the stratosphere, the temperature profile up to the mesosphere, and the electronic density and temperature in the ionosphere. It will take measurements for 2 years from a polar orbit at about 500 km altitude. Its payload consists of a miniaturized imaging spectrometer (VISION) and a 4-needle-like Sweeping Langmuir Probe (SLP). The CubeSat integration and final tests are foreseen to take place in 2019 before being delivered for a forthcoming VEGA launch.
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PICASSO is a CubeSat demonstration mission initiated by the Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy.

Its objective is to assess the ability of very low-cost satellites to carry out atmospheric measurements. It is currently being implemented as an ESA mission. The project includes the end-to-end development of the satellite, launch by a VEGA rocket, operation, and analysis of the scientific data.

PICASSO will fly for two years along a polar orbit (altitude ranging from 475 to 500 km), with an inclination of 98°.

Its payload consists of:

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Electronic density and temperature in the ionosphere