Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Paul Darby, of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department, working with Co-PI, Dr. Andy Hollerman in the Physics Department, and the CAPE CubeSat Team have been awarded launch provisions by the United Launch Alliance for their envisioned LACCE Satellite. LACCE stands for LouisianA Coronal mass ejection Correlation Experiment.
Planned for late Fall of 2018, the satellite will be launched into a highly elliptical orbit, called a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit, with the perigee being about 200km high and the apogee being about 35,000km high. This special orbit is very valuable to science research in that it affords UL Lafayette a unique opportunity to study effects on the Earth's magnetic field, emitted light spectra, and the Earth's radiation belts at a continuum of distances away from our planet. This will allow data to be collected with respect to the magnetic field, spectra, and radiation gradients under the influence of Coronal Mass Ejections from the Sun induced as a result of solar flares, and other solar activity. Additionally, the satellite's experimental payload may allow the flight of a neutron detector, which is of interest to the Navy, according to Dr. Hollerman.
The results of these experiments will be important to NASA, the Department of Defense, and the commercial satellite industry to name a few. Dr. Darby and Dr. Hollerman next plan to seek scientific funding for the experiments and research involved.