Thermal Plasma Measurement Unit

The Thermal Plasma Measurement Unit (TPMU) was designed and manufactured as a part of scientific payload of the PROBA II satellite. It is intended for research of the cold plasma parameters like electron temperature, ion density, ion temperature and floating potential of the satellite. Scientific aim of the instrument observation is to study parameters of thermal plasma which are crucial for the electromagnetic waves propagation in the upper ionosphere. TPMU data will be used primarily for construction and improvement of ionospheric models. The goal is to get enough data to obtain actual global model in altitude given by satellite orbit. The second important TPMU goal is the validation and testing of the novel design of the instrument which is necessary for possible applications of TPMU design on future scientific missions.

TPMU was proposed under the PRODEX programme in 2002 and approved in 2003. The project was planned for three years as construction of a separate device, and extended until the end of 2008 due to the delay of PROBA 2 launch. Since 2004, it was developed as a one mechanical unit with the Dual Segmented Langmuir Probe (DSLP). Flight version of the instrument was delivered in late 2006 to the company Verhaert, where were held a pre-flight testing and integration. The device was designed and developed at the Institute of Atmospheric Physics ASCR, flight model of the instrument was manufactured in cooperation with the Czech Space Research Centre (CSRC) in Brno. PROBA 2 statellite with the TPMU on board was launched on 2 November 2009 by a Rockot vehicle from the Plesetsk Cosmodrome in northern Russia.

Measured plasma parameters:

  • Ion temperature
  • Ion density
  • Ion composition
  • Electron temperature
  • Electron density
  • Floating potential

Links to information about DSLP device and PROBA 2 mission.