Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction CubeSat Experiment (CIRCE) mission overview

Andrew C. Nicholas, Gemma D.R. Attrill, Kenneth F. Dymond, Scott A. Budzien, Andrew W. Stephan, Bruce A. Fritz, Graham J. Routledge, Junayd A. Miah, Charles M. Brown, Peter J. Marquis, Ted T. Finne, Cathryn N. Mitchell, Robert J. Watson, Dhiren O. Kataria, James Williams

Research output: Chapter or section in a book/report/conference proceedingChapter in a published conference proceeding

7 Citations (SciVal)


The Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction Cubesat Experiment (CIRCE) is a joint US/UK mission consisting of two 6U CubeSats actively maintaining a lead-follow configuration in the same low Earth orbit with a launch planned for the 2020 timeframe. These nanosatellites will each feature multiple space weather payloads. From the US, the Naval Research Laboratory will provide two 1U Triple Tiny Ionospheric Photometers (Tri-TIPs) on each satellite, observing the ultraviolet 135.6 nm emission of atomic oxygen at nighttime. The primary objective is to characterize the twodimensional distribution of electrons in the Equatorial Ionization Anomaly (EIA). The methodology used to reconstruct the nighttime ionosphere employs continuous UV photometry from four distinct viewing angles in combination with an additional data source, such as in situ plasma density measurements, with advanced image space reconstruction algorithm tomography techniques. From the UK, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is providing the In-situ and Remote Ionospheric Sensing suite consisting of an Ion/Neutral Mass Spectrometer, a triple-frequency GPS receiver for ionospheric sensing, and a radiation environment monitor. We present our mission concept, simulations illustrating the imaging capability of the Tri-TIP sensor suite, and a range of science questions addressable via these measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCubeSats and SmallSats for Remote Sensing III
EditorsThomas S. Pagano, Charles D. Norton, Sachidananda R. Babu
ISBN (Electronic)9781510629554
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventCubeSats and SmallSats for Remote Sensing III 2019 - San Diego, USA United States
Duration: 11 Aug 201912 Aug 2019

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X


ConferenceCubeSats and SmallSats for Remote Sensing III 2019
Country/TerritoryUSA United States
CitySan Diego


  • CubeSat
  • In-situ
  • Ionosphere
  • Measurement Techniques
  • Remote Sensing
  • Tomography
  • Ultraviolet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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