CORBES: radiation belt survey with international small satellite constellation

Ji Wu*, Li Deng, Jaan Praks, Marius Anger, Philipp Oleynik, Wojciech Hajdas, Jin-Dong Wang, Shen-Yi Zhang, Bin Zhou, Li Zeng, Jinbin Cao, David Fischer, Shuang Liu, Wen Chen, Fan Wu, Rui-Chen Xi, Xinlin Li, Dos-Santos Walter Abrahao, Clezio Marcos Denardini, Yulun LiXiao-Chao Yang, Lei Dai, Ying-Qi Ma, Tian Yu, Ming-hui Cai, Hao-Liang Yang, Mohammad Ebrahimi, Falanga Maurizio, Vladimir Kalegaev, Wen Li, Yoshizumi Miyoshi, Rumi Nakamura, Anatoli Petrukovich, Daniel N. Baker, Jean-Claude Worms

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


The COnstellation of Radiation BElt Survey program (CORBES) is designed to deploy small satellites into a highly elliptic orbit for multi-point exploration of the Earth's radiation belts. Its scientific objective is to achieve unprecedented high-time-resolution dynamics measurements within the regions of Earth's outer radiation belts. The CORBES program initiative comprises satellites equipped with three types of payloads: the Magnetometer (MAG), the Search Coil Wave Detector (SCWD), and the High Energy Electron Detector (HEED). The energy interval of HEED is suggested as 0.1–4 MeV, logarithmically divided into 12 channels. To ensure extensive coverage of the outer radiation belts, a highly eccentric and inclined orbit is suggested, featuring a perigee of 280 km, an apogee of 7 Earth-Radius (Re), and an inclination of approximately 11°, resulting in an orbital period of approximately 13.5 h. Within a single orbital period, it takes roughly 10 h to traverse the outer radiation belts (3 Re to 7Re). All satellites are expected to operate within the same orbit, maintaining a spin-stabilized with sun-pointing spinning axis, and a spinning speed of approximately 8 RPM. Each satellite's mass should not exceed 30 kg. For telecommand, either S-band or X-band will be utilized, while X-band is designated for data downlink. The satellites are scheduled for launch by one or two rockets, with the equipped upper stage placing them into the target orbit, and the attached dispenser releasing them individually according to the required separation sequence. Key aspects of the program include cross-calibration, radiation shielding, assembly integration and testing (AIT). Prior to launch, the cross-calibration is optional for the payloads. The payloads will be tested in the same environment to calibrate the technical specifications. Post-launch, in orbit cross-calibration becomes necessary to maintain data consistency and comparability. Specifically for HEED, this involves selecting electrons with the same energy range during the magnetospheric quiet period (Kp < 3), and comparing the observation results of different HEEDs under the same L,B conditions. A similar method applies to MAG and SCWD comparing observations during selected quiet period. Given that the satellites will operate within radiation belts characterized by high-energy protons at low altitudes and electrons at high altitudes, all on-board electronic components must meet fundamental requirements, including shielding geometry structure design, and thickness calculation to mitigate the Total Ionizing Dose Effect (TID) to a level of 200 krad [Si] over a one-year mission cycle. Lastly, system-level AIT before launch could be performed.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 30 Apr 2024
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • International cooperation
  • Radiation belts
  • Small satellite constellation
  • System engineering


Dive into the research topics of 'CORBES: radiation belt survey with international small satellite constellation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this