Skipper - An innovative U.S. And Russian University space science mission

Deborah A. Levin, Leonard H. Caveny, David M. Mann, David A. Burt

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Skipper is the third space experiment in the Bow Shock series to obtain aerothermochemistry and emission data from shock-heated layers. Onboard instrumentation will include two scanning spectrometers and 20 photometers. The spectrometers will scan over the range of 0.2 to 0.4 μm. The photometers will be designed to view the VUV and UV wavelengths with emphasis on atomic oxygen, Lyman-alpha, NO, OH, and N2+ wavelengths. The mission starts with launch into a 822 km circular orbit at 97° inclination. Utah State University designed Skipper with their instrumentation module integrated on top of the Russian spacecraft bus. After spacecraft checkout in the 822 km orbit, the satellite uses hydrazine engines to change to an elliptical orbit with a perigee of about 180 km and begins the scientific measurements. The experimenters will then lower the perigee farther (in approximately 10 km steps) 10 increase the signal to noise ratios, as drag and thermal limits permit. These experiments will be completed in a two week period, followed by positioning the satellite for reentiy over a Pacific test range. Additional data will be collected during the reentry (until the satellite burns up) using both onboard instrumentation and ground observation systems. Thermal modeling predicts that data can be collected down to about 80 km (at a speed of 7 km/sec).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)292-306
Number of pages15
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Jul 22 1994
Externally publishedYes
EventAerial Surveillance Sensing Including Obscured and Underground Object Detection 1994 - Orlando, United States
Duration: Apr 4 1994Apr 8 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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