BAE Systems has successfully completed the integration of the Carruthers Geocorona Observatory’s ultraviolet spectrometer onto the satellite bus, the next major step in completing the NASA Earth-monitoring satellite. (Credit: BAE Systems)

BAE Systems has reached a significant milestone in the completion of NASA’s Earth-monitoring satellite by successfully integrating the Carruthers Geocorona Observatory’s ultraviolet (UV) spectrometer onto the satellite bus.

Carruthers, a SmallSat developed around BAE Systems’ adaptable spacecraft platform, will utilize an advanced UV imager to observe the exosphere — the outer layer of Earth’s atmosphere — from its orbit at Lagrange Point 1 (L1). Positioned approximately 1 million miles away between the Earth and the Sun, Carruthers will be the first SmallSat to operate at L1, providing continuous observations of the Earth’s exosphere.

Previously known as the Global Lyman-alpha Imager of the Dynamic Exosphere (GLIDE), the mission was renamed in honor of Dr. George R. Carruthers, the esteemed scientist behind the moon-based telescope that captured the first images of Earth’s geocorona during the Apollo 16 mission.

Dr. Alberto Conti, vice president and general manager of Civil Space for BAE Systems Space & Mission Systems, emphasized the mission’s significance in understanding how Earth’s atmosphere interacts with space weather. The data collected will aid in mitigating the impacts of space weather on Earth’s systems, including satellite communications and electrical grids.

The collaboration between NASA and the Space Sciences Laboratory at the University of California, Berkeley, led to the development of the primary scientific instrument for the mission. Dr. Lara Waldrop of the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, serves as the principal investigator.

BAE Systems played a vital role in designing and building the satellite bus, overseeing integration and environmental testing to ensure the satellite’s resilience to launch conditions and operational functionality in space. Environmental testing will continue through June of this year.

Scheduled for launch in 2025 as part of NASA’s Interstellar Mapping and Acceleration Probe (IMAP) mission, Carruthers represents a collaborative effort to advance Earth monitoring capabilities and further scientific understanding of space weather phenomena.

Source: BAE Systems

Image source: BAE Systems