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The ASIM project – the first space contract between Creotech Instruments and ESA

Context

In the past, mysterious events and discharges that took place in the upper layers of Earth's atmosphere were many times interpreted as proof of alien visitation. The scientists call them Blue Jets, Ghosts, and Elves. They cannot, however, be observed from the surface of the Earth, as they occur during storms, when the sky is covered by clouds.

Solution

Many things point to those mysterious events influencing the weather on Earth and the possibility that researching them will allow us to create more reliable climate models of our planet. The aim of the ASIM project is investigating the relation between these events that take place during heavy storms in the stratosphere and mesosphere tens of thousands of meters above the surface of the planet.

Our involvement

ASIM was our first space contract that had the European Space Agency as a main recipient and it was of utmost importance to us. We were put in charge of the assembly of the final models (qualification and flight) of the Polish device which consisted of over 30 blocks of electronics compliant with the highly demanding requirements for outer space.

The ASIM project was the first space contract that Creotech Instruments realised for the European Space Agency.

The ASIM project (The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor) is a scientific experiment with the main goal of researching the mysterious events and discharges that take place in the upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere. It was launched by order from the European Space Agency and realised by the ASIM consortium led by the Danish company called Terma – the main technical developer. The realisation of the project cost close to EUR 40 m, took 10 years altogether, and the workforce included 100 specialists from Denmark, Norway, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, United States, and Poland. Creotech Instruments S.A. took part in it as a subcontractor of the Space Research Centre of the Polish Academy of Sciences and was in charge of the assembly of the final models (qualification and flight) of the Polish device, which consisted of over 30 blocks of electronics compliant with the highly demanding requirements of space.

The project was realised by the ASIM consortium, at the head of which was the Danish company, Terma – the main technical developer. The realisation of the project cost almost EUR 40 m, took 10 years, and employed 100 specialists from Denmark, Norway, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, United States, and Poland. The consortium also included: The DTU Space Institute of Kopenhagen (as the scientific leader), Bergen University, University of Valencia, OHB Italia, and the Centre of Space Research of the Polish Academy of Sciences.

The first documents, including the requirements and specifications, were developed by the MXGS consortium and delivered to ESA for SRR review in 2008. In 2018 the Falcon-9 rocket has been launched, carrying the scientific instruments we were working on.

The ASIM apparatus included two measuring instruments:

  • MMIA (Modular Multi-Imaging Assembly, the array of optical cameras), which is tasked with detecting and observing the events known as Transient Luminous Events (TLE);
  • ASIM – MXGS, a device gathering data on the radiation bursts invisible to the human eye.

Thanks to the data gathered by the space observatory, the scientists on Earth will be able to research the connection between the spectacular light events and the invisible to the naked eye gamma radiation bursts.

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