ASTRA - Atmospheric & Space Technology Research Associates, LLC

The Dynamic Ionosphere Cubesat Experiment (DICE) mission, led by the Atmospheric & Space Research Associates (ASTRA), is a National Science Foundation funded satellite mission designed to provide new measurements of a space weather phenomena known as Storm Enhanced Density (SED).

Mission Description

The DICE mission consists of two identical 1.5U CubeSats deployed simultaneously from a single P-POD (NASAs Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployer) into the same orbit. These twin satellites, named Yahtzee and Farkle, were launched on a Delta II rocket carrying NASA’s next Earth-observing research satellite dubbed NPP on October 28, 2011. The satellites are flying in a leader-follower formation in a highly elliptical orbit which ranges from 820 to 400 km. Both satellites are expected to remain on orbit for about 15 years and the goal is to get at least 6 months of scientific data from them. Each satellite carries two Langmuir probes to measure in-situ ionospheric plasma densities and electric field probes to measure DC and ACВ electric fields. These measurements will permit accurate identification of storm-time ionospheric features, such as the SED bulge and plume, which have previously been lacking. The scientific purpose of DICE is to understand the mechanism that allows parts of the Earths ionosphere to be lost into space during geomagnetic storms.

Mission Objectives

  • Investigate the physical processes responsible for formation of the ionospheric SED Bulge.
  • Investigate the physical processes responsible for the formation of the SED Plume at the base of the SED Bulge and transport of high density SED plume across the polar region.
  • Investigate the relationship between the penetration electric fields and the formation and evolution of SED





DICE Announcement
DICE PowerPoint
DICE Information
Press Release