The experience of the University of Coimbra goes into space on the hitchhiking of ESA’s first reusable vehicle – Ciência

The experience of the University of Coimbra goes into space on the hitchhiking of ESA’s first reusable vehicle – Ciência

The TGF Monitor scientific experiment, led by the University of Coimbra (UC), has just been selected to go into space aboard the Space Rider, the first reusable spacecraft of the European Space Agency (ESA).

Featured in the experiment is a gamma-ray pixelated cadmium telluride (CdTe) detection system with polarimetric capabilities. As Rui Curado Silva, professor in the Department of Physics at UC’s Faculty of Science and Technology (FCTUC) explains, if successful, it will help “establish CdTe detectors as a technology with applications ranging from astrophysics to safety. aerial “.

The researcher also specifies that the experiment will allow for “new scientific measurements, in particular those relating to terrestrial gamma-ray bursts (TGF)”. TGFs “are emitted by cumulonimbus clouds”, highly vertical clouds associated with storm systems, “and are a concern for the health and safety of aircraft crews and passengers.”

TGF monitoring experience

credits: UC

“data-title =” TGF Monitor Experience – University of Coimbra Experience goes into space aboard ESA’s first reusable vehicle – SAPO Tek “> TGF monitoring experience

credits: UC

The topics covered by the experiment “can be used as a survey plane for telescopes for high-energy astrophysics; observation of gamma emissions, or the Crab Nebula, with a CdTe detector with polarimetric capabilities; scientific measurements of TGF emissions, in particular, the possibility of measuring linear polarization can help answer open questions about the physical processes that generate TGF “, points out Rui Curado Silva.

TGF Monitoring Experience | timeline

credits: UC

“data-title =” TGF Monitoring Experience | Timeline – The experience of the University of Coimbra goes into space on the hitchhiking of ESA’s first reusable vehicle – SAPO Tek “> TGF Monitoring Experience |  timeline

credits: UC

Also part of the experience is monitoring TGF emissions and assessing the potential of pixelated CdTe detectors while the TGF monitors on board aircraft. “Its use as an alarm and to characterize the extent of the emission could be a valuable contribution to aviation safety,” says the researcher.

Space Rider will be launched from Kourou, French Guiana, in 2024 aboard a Vega rocket and will be in orbit for two months in an equatorial low earth orbit. The TGF Monitor experiment “will be exposed to the space radiation environment”, pointing “to space, allowing the recording of gamma ray emissions, for example from the Crab Nebula, and also to Earth, recording the TGF”, explains Rui Curado Silva.

At the end of the mission, the Space Rider will land in Kourou or the airport on the island of Santa Maria, in the Azores. The experience will then be recovered and analyzed.

The TGF Monitor team is coordinated by Rui Curado Silva and has the participation of the Laboratory of Instrumentation and Experimental Particle Physics (LIP), the University of Beira Interior (UBI) and the companies Active Space Technologies (Coimbra) and Advacam (Prague , Czech Republic).

Editor’s note: The news has been updated with more information. (Last updated: 10:35 am)