HaloSat – A CubeSat to Study the Hot Galactic Halo (HaloSat) - 10.04.18

Overview | Description | Applications | Operations | Results | Publications | Imagery

ISS Science for Everyone

Science Objectives for Everyone
One-third of the matter from early astronomical observations cannot be found. This missing matter may be in very hot halos of gas surrounding galaxies. HaloSat – A CubeSat to Study the Hot Galactic Halo (HaloSat) examines X-rays from oxygen atoms surrounding the Milky Way to determine how much matter is in the halo of our galaxy.
Science Results for Everyone
Information Pending

The following content was provided by Philip Kaaret, Ph.D., and is maintained in a database by the ISS Program Science Office.
Experiment Details

OpNom:

Principal Investigator(s)
Philip Kaaret, Ph.D., University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, United States

Co-Investigator(s)/Collaborator(s)
Kip Kuntz, Ph.D., Johns Hopkins University, MD, United States
Keith Jahoda, Ph.D., NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, MD, United States
Dimitra Koutroumpa, Ph.D., CNRS LATMOS, Paris, France

Developer(s)
University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, United States

Sponsoring Space Agency
National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)

Sponsoring Organization
Technology Demonstration Office (TDO)

Research Benefits
Information Pending

ISS Expedition Duration
February 2018 - October 2018

Expeditions Assigned
55/56

Previous Missions
Information Pending

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Experiment Description

Research Overview

  • Observations fail to locate about one-third of the normal matter required in cosmology.
  • The missing matter may be in hot galactic halos, invisible in visible light because the gas is at temperatures of millions of degrees Kelvin.
  • HaloSat – A CubeSat to Study the Hot Galactic Halo (HaloSat) maps X-rays from oxygen atoms in the halo of the Milky Way.
  • HaloSat helps figure out whether the halos of galaxies are large and massive enough to account for the missing matter.

Description

Normal or “baryonic” matter makes up 5% of the total mass-energy of the universe, yet surveys of luminous matter fails to locate about one-third of the baryons seen in the early universe, leading to the “missing baryon” problem. It is important to determine whether the missing baryons are gravitationally bound to galaxies or instead form a truly intergalactic medium. One possible reservoir of missing baryons associated with our Milky Way galaxy is an extended halo of X-ray emitting gas at temperatures of several million degrees. X-ray emission and absorption from highly ionized oxygen are the primary diagnostics to study such hot gas.
 
HaloSat is a 6U CubeSat capable of measuring the oxygen line emission from the hot Galactic halo. A dedicated CubeSat enables an instrument design and observing strategy to maximize the halo signal while minimizing foregrounds from solar wind charge exchange interactions within the solar system. HaloSat maps the distribution of hot gas in the Milky Way and determines whether it fills an extended, and thus, massive halo, or whether the halo is compact, and thus, does not contribute significantly to the total mass of the Milky Way. HaloSat uses a commercial CubeSat bus from Blue Canyon Technologies, Inc., and commercially available X-ray detectors from Amptek, Inc.

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Applications

Space Applications
HaloSat tests a mapping tool that may allow for deeper understanding of the evolution of the universe and may be helpful in space exploration initiatives.

Earth Applications
This investigation enables a deeper understanding of the evolution of the universe and provides students the opportunity to be involved in the development of space hardware.

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Operations

Operational Requirements and Protocols

NanoRacks CubeSats are delivered to the International Space Station (ISS) already integrated within a NanoRacks CubeSat Deployer (NRCSD) or NanoRacks DoubleWide Deployer (NRDD). A crew member transfers each NRCSD/NRDD from the launch vehicle to the Japanese Experiment Module (JEM). Visual inspection for damage to each NRCSD is performed. When CubeSat deployment operations begin, the NRCSD/NRDDs are unpacked, mounted on the JAXA Multi-Purpose Experiment Platform (MPEP) and placed on the JEM airlock slide table for transfer outside the ISS. A crew member operates the JEM Remote Manipulating System (JRMS) – to grapple and position for deployment. CubeSats are deployed when JAXA ground controllers command a specific NRCSD.
 
HaloSat surveys the soft X-ray sky by measuring the X-ray emission from more than 200 separate fields, each 10 degrees in diameter. HaloSat operates for at least 6 months with a goal of 12 months and observes for 45 minutes on the night-time side of each 90 minute satellite orbit. Data is downlinked via NASA’s Wallops ground station. Science operations are done by the University of Iowa and mission operations are done by Blue Canyon Technologies, Inc., of Boulder, CO.

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Decadal Survey Recommendations

Information Pending

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Results/More Information

Information Pending

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Related Websites
HaloSat

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Imagery

image NASA Image: ISS056E033124 - Expedition 56 Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor installs the NanoRacks Cubesat Deployer-14 (NRCSD-14) on the Multipurpose Experiment Platform inside the Japanese Kibo laboratory module. The NRCSD-14 was then placed in the Kibo airlock and moved outside of the space station to deploy a variety of cubesats into Earth orbit.
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image NASA Image: ISS056e033126 - Expedition 56 Flight Engineer Serena Auñón-Chancellor installs the NanoRacks Cubesat Deployer-14 (NRCSD-14) on the Multipurpose Experiment Platform inside the Japanese Kibo laboratory module. The NRCSD-14 was then placed in the Kibo airlock and moved outside of the space station to deploy a variety of cubesats into Earth orbit.
+ View Larger Image


image NASA Image: ISS056E033143 - A view during installation of the NanoRacks Cubesat Deployer-14 (NRCSD-14) on the Multipurpose Experiment Platform inside the Japanese Kibo laboratory module. The NRCSD-14 was then placed in the Kibo airlock and moved outside of the space station to deploy a variety of cubesats into Earth orbit.
+ View Larger Image