Develop a mission concept to achieve a new capability for predicting the incidence and severity of solar energetic particle (SEP) events by detecting suprathermal seed particles currently thought to be essential for acceleration of high-energy particles in the solar corona.
SEPs can interrupt satellite-based comms, generate single event effects that destroy even hardened space assets, adversely affect ISR, precision engagement, missile detection and intercept, and polar flight activities.
C-SPEX: a coronagraphic ultraviolet (UV) spectrometer
- C-SPEX determines the presence of suprathermal particles in the corona by detecting characteristic line-broadening in resonant scattered light from atomic hydrogen
- NRL is C-SPEX PI institution for NASA; consortium of US and international partners
- Builds on UV coronagraphs in the successful NRL-led HERSCHEL (Helium Resonant Scattering in the Corona and Heliosphere) sounding rocket mission
- C-SPEX is designed to be accommodated as a standard ISS ExPRESS (Expedited Processing of Experiments to Space Station) payload
- C-SPEX makes a definitive remote sensing suprathermal particle measurement at two coronal heights each orbit
- Invented the nested coronagraph concept that achieves a 500X improvement in throughput within the same instrument volume as previous state of the art
- Calculated the optimum spectral target for observation
- C-SPEX would be able to achieve an entirely new capability to predict the incidence and severity of satellite-killing SEP events. No such capability currently exists