The LOw Cost Upper atmosphere Sounder: The "elegant breadboard" programme

Bruce Swinyard, Oliver Auriacombe, Tom Bradshaw, David J. Brooks, Janet Charlton, Martin Crook, Giles Davies, Brian Ellison, Michael Emes, Jonathan Friend, Daniel Gerber, Caroline Gray, Manju Henry, Tom Hunt, Edmund Linfield, Nimal Navarathinam, Steve Parks, Tom Rawlings, Simon Rea, Christopher SaundersGiorgio Savini, Soe Min Tun, David Walker, Hui Wang, Berend Winter

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review


The LOw Cost Upper atmosphere Sounder (LOCUS) mission has a core objective of probing the Earths meso-sphere and low thermosphere (MLT) region using THz receivers combined with an infrared (IR) filter radiometer. This will give the first comprehensive data on the energy balance and chemical processes in the MLT from direct detection, including the important atomic oxygen which until now has never been mapped by remote sensing measurements. The payload and mission design concept has very recently, and very successfully, concluded an ESA sponsored phase A0 study, led by SSTL. It is essential to build upon this success and to maintain the mission momentum towards achieving a high readiness level (TRL) and eventual flight. A key step in this process is the demonstration and proof of operation of the THz payload in a representative environment (towards TRL 6). We therefore have begun working on a hi-fidelity breadboard of the LOCUS payload suitable for both extensive laboratory and environmental testing, and with a potential for deployment on a high-altitude platform, such as NASAs Global Hawk. The latter will prove the system technical operation in a closely representative environment, and will return valuable and useful scientific data. The breadboard will consist of the system primary antenna; optical bench; one or more THz receivers; back-end electronics, and a physical realisation of the spacecraft payload bay. An extensive test programme will be undertaken to raise the payload and receiver system towards level 6, and we will seek opportunities to test the system in an observational campaign.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2015 8th UK, Europe, China Millimeter Waves and THz Technology Workshop, UCMMT 2015
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
Number of pages4
ISBN (Electronic)9781467374347
Publication statusPublished - 26 Apr 2016
Externally publishedYes
Event8th UK, Europe-China Workshop on Millimeter Waves and THz Technology Workshop - Cardiff, United Kingdom
Duration: 14 Sep 201516 Sep 2015
Conference number: 8 (Link to Conference Website)


Conference8th UK, Europe-China Workshop on Millimeter Waves and THz Technology Workshop
Abbreviated titleUCMMT 2015
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Internet address


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