CubeSatTOF: Planetary Atmospheres Analyzed with 1U High-Performance Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometer

Fausch, Rico; Wurz, Peter; Tulej, Marek; Rohner, Urs (August 2020). CubeSatTOF: Planetary Atmospheres Analyzed with 1U High-Performance Time-Of-Flight Mass Spectrometer. In: 34th Annual Small Satellite Conference. Proceedings. Virtual Conference. 01. - 06. August 2020.

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This paper presents design and performance of a miniature time-of-flight mass spectrometer of 1U size for a CubeSat platform for quantitative chemical composition analysis of thin atmospheres. The atmospheres of solar system bodies harbor key information to answer questions about its origin and evolution, night-side transport, satellite drag including seasonal variation of it, chemical sputtering of satellites, and even the feasibility of earthquake forecast system has been suggested. Highly sensitive chemical analyses with our mass spectrometer will allow to obtain insight into atmospheric processes. We designed a compact multipurpose instrument. Its application is discussed for two mission concepts, namely orbiting Earth in a terrestrial swarm configuration or descending through the atmosphere of a planetary object during a flyby. Our measurements demonstrate that the instrument has mass range of about m/z 1 – 300 and a mass resolution so that the heavy noble gases such as krypton and xenon can be quantified in situ. Thanks to its ion optical performance, the CubeSatTOF instrument serves as a baseline technology for future analysis of both the terrestrial and extraterrestrial exospheres.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Space Research and Planetary Sciences
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute

UniBE Contributor:

Fausch, Rico Georgio, Wurz, Peter, Tulej, Marek


500 Science > 520 Astronomy
600 Technology > 620 Engineering




Dora Ursula Zimmerer

Date Deposited:

25 Feb 2021 13:41

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 15:48

Additional Information:

Pre-Conference Workshop Session III: Instruments/Science I




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