, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 283–289 | Cite as

Space Electromagnetic and Plasma Sensor (SEAPS): A Laboratory Prototype for a Space Payload

  • K. MakhijaEmail author
  • R. Borade
  • G. Shaifullah
  • S. Gujare
  • S. Ananthakrishnan
  • D. C. Gharpure
Original Paper


Space electromagnetic and plasma sensor is a proposed space payload consisting of an electric field vector sensor—a tri-axial arrangement of monopoles in a mutually orthogonal configuration—and a magnetic field vector sensor, which is a tri-axial arrangement of mutually perpendicular loop antennas. Both operate between 0.5 and 20 MHz in order to acquire the complete 3D polarization matrix. The antennas, which are meant to be electrically short, are matched with a high input impedance amplifier, followed by gain blocks, filters and a six-channel data acquisition system. Some of the proposed goals of the project include study of the low frequency Sun, plasma interactions between the solar wind and Earth’s magnetosphere, lunar atmosphere, and radio emission from other planets within the solar system. This article describes the construction of a laboratory prototype and preliminary calibration results.


Active antennas Low frequency Radio astronomy Plasma 



We would like to thank the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) for PLANEX Grant #GOI-A-574 under which this work was carried out along with some of the other students who helped out: Ankur Divekar, Gaurav Jagtap, Zahid Mohammed, and Minakshi Salpure. We would also like to thank SAC for their support thus far and for helping us test the prototype. We would like to express gratitude to Prof. P. Janardhan for his continued support on the project. Special thanks to our collaborators at the Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Dr. Jan Bergman and Mr. Lennart Ahlen, for the initial guidance and support in making the proposal and mission concept during the late 2000s and to the anonymous referee whose valuable comments helped improve the quality and content of this article.


  1. [1]
    J.-L. Bougeret et al., Waves: the radio and plasma wave investigation on the wind spacecraft, Space Sci. Rev., 71(1–4) (1995) 231–263.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. [2]
    D.A. Gurnett et al., The Cassini radio and plasma wave investigation. The Cassini-Huygens Mission, Springer, Berlin (2004) 395–463.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. [3]
    G. Shaifullah et al., The Lunar electromagnetic and plasma sensor (LEAPS): a proposed space based radio astronomy and space plasma measurement system, 39th COSPAR General Assembly, Mysore, C5.1-0057-12 (2012).Google Scholar
  4. [4]
    J.E.S Bergman et al., ELVIS—electromagnetic vector information sensor, DGLR International Symposium “To Moon and Beyond”, Bremen, Germany, 2005. arXiv:astro-ph/0509864.
  5. [5]
    J.P. Basart, J.O. Burns, B.K. Dennison, K.W. Weiler, N.E. Kassim, S.P. Castillo and B.M. McCune, Directions for space-based low-frequency radio astronomy: 2, Telesc. Radio Sci., 32(1) (1997) 265–275, doi: 10.1029/96RS02408.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. [6]
    D. Oberoi and J.-L. Pinçon, A new design for a very low frequency spaceborne radio interferometer, Radio Sci., 40 (2005) RS4004, doi: 10.1029/2004RS003211.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. [7]
    S. Jester and H. Falcke, Science with a lunar low-frequency array: from the dark ages of the Universe to nearby exo-planets, New Astron. Rev. 53(1) (2009) 1–26.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. [8]
    J.R. Pritchard and A. Loeb. Constraining the unexplored period between the dark ages and reionization with observations of the global 21 cm signal, Phys. Rev. D 82(2) (2010) 023006.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. [9]
    C.A. Balanis, Antenna theory: analysis and design, Wiley, London (2010) pp. 176–178, 465–467.Google Scholar
  10. [10]
    S.W. Ellingson, J.H. Simonetti and C.D. Patterson, Design and evaluation of an active antenna for a 29–47 MHz radio telescope array, IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag., 55(3) (2007) 826–831.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. [11]
    R. Bradley and C.R. Parashare, Evaluation of the NRL LWA Active Balun Prototype, NRAO Electronics Division Technical Note, Series No. 220, (2005).
  12. [12]
    G.H. Tan and C.H. Rohner, Low-frequency array active-antenna system, astronomical telescopes and instrumentation, International Society for Optics and Photonics, Bellingham (2000).Google Scholar
  13. [13]
    B.C. Hicks et al., A wide-band, active antenna system for long wavelength radio astronomy, Publ. Astron. Soc. Pacific, 124(920) (2012) 1090.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. [14]
    S.W. Ellingson, Antennas for the next generation of low-frequency radio telescopes, IEEE Trans. Antennas Propag., 53(8) (2005) 2480–2489.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. [15]
    M.L. Kaiser et al., WIND/WAVES observations of man‐made radio transmissions, Geophys. Res. Lett., 23(10) (1996) 1287–1290.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. [16]
    J.K. Alexander, M.L. Kaiser, J.C. Novaco, F.R. Grena and R.R. Weber, Scientific instrumentation of the radio-astronomy-explorer-2 satellite. Astron. Astrophys., 40 (1975) 365–371.ADSGoogle Scholar
  17. [17]
    H.V. Cane, Spectra of the non-thermal radio radiation from the galactic polar regions, Mon. Notices R. Astron. Soc., 189(3) (1979) 465–478.ADSCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. [18]
    E. Bruun, Feedback analysis of transimpedance operational amplifier circuits, IEEE Trans. Circuits Syst. I: Fundam. Theory Appl., 40(4) (1993) 275–278.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. [19]
    J.J. Condon and S.M. Ransom, Essential radio astronomy. Princeton University Press (2016).Google Scholar
  20. [20]
    S. Gujare et al., FPGA based data acquisition and analysis system, 2012 1st International Symposium on Physics and Technology of Sensors (ISPTS), IEEE (2012).Google Scholar
  21. [21]
    S. Gujare et al., Development of data acquisition and analysis system on Virtex 5 FPGA, Volume 2, Issue 8, IJARCSSE (2012).
  22. [22]
    R.G. Lyons, Understanding digital signal processing, Pearson Education, Upper Saddle River (2010) pp. 135–160, 671–730.Google Scholar
  23. [23]
    B. Richards et al., A 1.5 GS/s 4096-point digital spectrum analyzer for space-borne applications, Custom Integrated Circuits Conference, 2009, CICC’09, IEEE (2009).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Metrology Society of India 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • K. Makhija
    • 1
    Email author
  • R. Borade
    • 1
  • G. Shaifullah
    • 1
  • S. Gujare
    • 1
  • S. Ananthakrishnan
    • 1
  • D. C. Gharpure
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Electronic ScienceSavitribai Phule Pune UniversityPuneIndia

Personalised recommendations