The Canadian ConSat-1 3U CubeSat aims to analyze radiation characteristics in the South-Atlantic Anomaly, and test technology payloads.
Canada is an Associate Member of the European Space Agency (ESA) and ConSat-1 is one of the educational CubeSats chosen for Phase 1 of the ‘Fly Your Satellite!’ initiative.
The ‘Fly Your Satellite!’ initiative builds on the success of the ‘CubeSats for the Vega Maiden Flight’ pilot program. This culminated in 2012 with the launch of seven student-built CubeSats on the first flight of the new ESA Vega launcher.
The South-Atlantic Anomaly is a plasma cloud 200 km from the Earth’s surface, located above the east coast of South America. It appears to be constantly growing in size and a NASA report speculates that by 2240 it might cover approximately half the southern hemisphere. http://ntrs.nasa.gov/archive/nasa/casi.ntrs.nasa.gov/20000085550_2000122978.pdf
ConSat-1 plans to look at various aspects of the plasma cloud: its temperature, its atomic and molecular composition, its density, and its volume. The team hope to produce meaningful data which shows the ever-changing characteristics of this extra-spatial hazard.
In this video Nick Sweet of Space Concordia describes his teams winning CubeSat entry and provides an insightful look into the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge at the 2012 Canadian Space Summit.
Watch Space Concordia and the Canadian Satellite Design Challenge
ESA announce six CubeSats chosen for Phase 1 https://amsat-uk.org/2013/06/26/esa-announce-six-cubesats/
ESA ‘Fly Your Satellite’ Initiative http://www.esa.int/Education/Call_for_Proposals_Fly_Your_Satellite
Wiki – South-Atlantic Anomaly http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Atlantic_Anomaly