Kolibri-2000 is a cooperative Russian/Australian scientific/educational microsatellite mission (spacecraft mass of 20.5 kg), delivered into Earth orbit on March 20, 2002 by an automatic ejection mechanism of the Progress M1-7 transport vehicle, after re-docking from ISS. On May 3, 2002, the Kolibri-2000 craft ended its life in Earth orbit; it reentered the atmosphere and disintegrated over the Pacific Ocean. Its free-flying mission lasted 45 days, in which time it completed 711 Earth orbits. During this time, there were over 230 communications sessions with the GCC (Ground Control Complex), located at Kaluga (Russia), and data receiving and processing stations at Tarusa, Obninsk (Russia), and Sydney (Australia). 1) 2) 3) 4)
The Kolibri-2000 project was created and designed by IPRO (Inter-Region Public Organization) “Microsputnik,” a team of space enthusiasts in Russia, namely from IKI (Space Research Institute), Moscow, the Moscow State University, several space industry organizations, and from high-school students of the “Center of Computer Technologies at the Institute of Atomic Power“ in Obninsk, near Moscow; as well as from two Australian schools: Knox Grammar School and Ravenswood School for Girls, both located in Sydney. The intent of the project Kolibri-2000 was to create interest and enthusiasm in some aspects of the design/development of microsatellites, of data reception and the interpretation of the data, thereby improving school education and involving schoolchildren in space technologies.
The objective of the program was not only to bring students to the level of practical microsatellite development, but also to bring scientists into the educational process. The following “initial requirements” of a very general nature and service spectrum were given:
• Design and development of a service satellite system consisting of: onboard computer systems, orientation sensors, store-and-forward information systems, orbit computations, and operational support modes.
• Design and study of: technology experiments, material studies, micro-gravitation effects, etc.
• Remote sensing of Earth, meteorological studies, high-resolution topographic studies
• Study of processes: radiation belts, atmosphere and ionosphere, magnetic field, space weather, ecology, etc.
In late July 2000, a group (18 in number) of Russian schoolboys and schoolgirls, teachers and space specialists, visited their counterparts in Sydney, Australia. This included the installation of simple ground stations, referred to as SCRI (School Center of Reception of the Information) on the premises of the Australian schools, some operational training of the stations, and space weather seminars to all involved.
The study objective chosen in the program was “space weather” because of the solar maximum at the end of 2000 (11 year cycle). This permits the monitoring of: a) solar fluxes affecting the Earth's radiation belts, and b) ejections from the solar surface of plasma clouds, interacting with the geo-magnetosphere and triggering sharp changes in the magnetic and electric fields in the ionosphere and on the Earth surface.
Figure 1: Illustration of the Kolibri spacecraft (image credit: IKI)
The microsatellite structure consists of a hexagonal prism with overall dimensions: 540 mm (height), 370 mm (full diameter). Power of 30 W (max) is provided by four deployable solar panels of 0.5 m2. A system attitude is provided within ±10º. The deployed boom has a length of 2 m.
Table 1: Mass budget of the Kolibri-2000 microsatellite
Figure 2: Schematic view of the Kolibri-2000 spacecraft (IKI)
Launch: On Nov. 26, 2001, the Russian transport cargo vehicle Progress M1-7 was launched from Baikonur (with the Kolibri-2000 microsatellite in its payload compartment) for an ISS service flight. Kolibri-2000 was kept onboard ISS until a follow-up flight of Progress M1-7 in March 2002. 5)
Orbit: The deployed Kolibri-2000 spacecraft (deployment on March 20, 2002) had an initial altitude of ~ 385 km and an inclination of 51.6º.
Initial orbit calculations predicted a Kolibri-2000 orbit life of about four months. However, between April 17-20, 2002, the Kolibri orbit experienced a fairly rapid reduction in altitude due to the increase in the sun activity.
The communication link of command and telemetry is: 145/435 MHz respectively at data rates of 300 - 4800 baud. About 1.5 Mbyte/day of data were collected.
After service completion and undocking from the ISS and at a safe distance from ISS (on March 20, 2002), Kolibri-2000 was ejected from the Progress M1-7 vehicle by automatic removal from the special Kolibri container at an orbital altitude of about 350 km and an inclination of 51.6º. First signals of the free-flying Kolibri-2000 microsatellite were detected shortly after ejection by the Kaluga GCC (Ground Control Complex).
Kolibri-2000 operated for 45 days (711 orbits were completed) prior to reentry. It did not measure a sufficient amount of data for strong analysis. Many questions concerning the structure, dynamics and sources of the electron flux formations under the radiation belts still remain open. 6) 7)
FGM (Fluxgate Magnetometer):
The objective is the measurement of the three magnetic field components. FGM has a measurement range of ±64,000 nT at a frequency of 0.01- 15 Hz with a measurement error range of ± 100 nT. A further goal is the measurement of the electric DC field with spectral density fluctuations in a band of frequencies 50-60 Hz (on one component in the range ± 2560 mV/m). Instrument mass of 0.8 kg. The FGM data are also being used by the onboard magnetic-gravitation system of orientation (BUSOS) ensuring compensation of MS fluctuations.
AChP (Analyzer of Particles and Fields):
The AChP device has a mass of 2.8 kg. The objective is to measure:
• Electrons with flux energies: > 75 keV (on two directions - zenith and nadir)
• Electrons with flux energies: > 300 and > 600 keV (with different direction along perpendicular axis to zenith}
• Protons with energies: > 50 MeV
• Neutrons 0.1 eV - 10,0 MeV
• Gamma rays with energies: > 50 keV and > 2 MeV
• DC field (Edc2) one component in a range ± 2560 mV/m; spectral density of fluctuations in a band of frequencies 50-60 Hz (E50-2) on one a component.
Data processing and interpretation carried out during flight have verified a spacecraft environment of high electromagnetic cleanliness. The measurements of the magnetic and electrical fields were carried out with good sensitivities in their ranges. They were also compared with the measurements of other spacecraft such as Interball of Russia. Overall, the mission and the engagement of all participants was a great success.
1) S. I. Klimov, Y. V. Afanasyev, N. A. Eismont, E. A. Grachev, et al., “Results of In-Flight Operation of Scientific Payload on Microsatellite Kolibri-2000,” 4th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation, Berlin, Germany, April 7-11, 2003, URL: http://www.dlr.de/iaa.symp/Portaldata/49/Resources/dokumente/archiv4/IAA-B4-0502.pdf
2) S. I. Klimov, V. N. Angarov, et al., “Technological aspects of microsatellite based educational programs,” Small Satellites for Earth Observation,. 3rd International Symposium of the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA), Berlin, Germany April 2-6, 2001. Editors: H. P. Roser, R. Sandau, A. Velenzuela, pp..283-286
4) S. I. Klimov, O. R. Grigoryan, V. A. Grushin, D. I. Novikov, V. L. Petrov, S. P. Savin, “Results of Space Weather Research on Scientific-Educational Microsatellite Kolibri-2000,” Proceedings of the 5th IAA Symposium on Small Satellites for Earth Observation, Berlin, Germany, April 4-8, 2005
6) G. Tamkovich, S. Klimov, O. Grigoryan, V. Petrov, V. Radchenko, “The main scientific and educational results of Kolibri-2000 mission,” IV International conference “Small satellites. New technologies, Miniaturization, The areas of an effective application in XXI century”. Korolev, Moscow region, May, 31 –June, 4, 2004. Book II, 2004, 287-302 (in Russian)
7) S. I. Klimov, Yu. V. Afanasyev, E. A. Grachev, O. R. Grigoryan, V. A. Grushin, D. S. Lysakov, M. N. Nozdrachev, S. P. Savin, “Results of in-flight operation of scientific payload on microsatellite Kolibri-2000,” Planetary and Space Science, Vol. 53, Issues 1-3, March 2005, pp. 349-356
The information compiled and edited in this article was provided by Herbert J. Kramer from his documentation of: ”Observation of the Earth and Its Environment: Survey of Missions and Sensors” (Springer Verlag) as well as many other sources after the publication of the 4th edition in 2002. - Comments and corrections to this article are always welcome for further updates.