Space mission with Polish participation will check puzzling phenomena in the atmosphere

ASIM (The Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor) is a scientific experiment, whichórego to study the mysterious phenomena and discharges to which theówhich occur in the high layers of the Earth’s atmosphere. On board the Falcon 9 rocket, whichóra – if everything póhe project is going according to plan – will launch on Monday, April 2, will include a scientific isntrument, over which theóhe specialists of the Space Research Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences and the Polish company Creotech Instruments S.A. Instrument will be placed on the International Space Station.

"ASIM will study the relationship between mysterious phenomena occurring during strong storms in the stratosphere and mesosphere, at an altitude of tens of thousands of metersóin above the Earth’s surface" – explains Jacek Kosiec of Creotech Instruments, quoted in a press release sent to PAP. As these phenomena occur during thunderstorms, when the sky is covered with clouds, it is impossible to observe them from the surface of the Earth. "However, there are many indications that they affect the Earth’s weather, and studying them will allow the creation of more perfect climate models of our planet" – Kosiec adds.

The ASIM apparatus consists of two measurement instruments, whichóThe phenomena that are associated withóoperate. The first of these (MMIA – Modular Multi-Imaging Assembly, or a set of optical cameras) will detect and observe phenomena called Transient Luminous Events (TLE).

The geographic distribution of these phenomena coincides with the occurrence of other mysterious effectsów, namely króTLE – CBK PAN has developed the design of the power supply system for theóin gamma rays (TGF-Terrestial Gamma Flashes). The second instrumentóat ASIM – MXGS is designed to collect data on these flares invisible to the human eyeóin radiation. Thanks to the data acquired by the space observatory, scientists on Earth will be able to study the relationship between spectacular light phenomena and gamma-ray flares that are invisible to the eye.

Although TLEs are local, the enormous energy released in these phenomena has an impact on the ionosphere – explains Prof. Jan Błęcki of the Space Research Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences. "This affects telecommunications systems and system accuracyóin satellite navigation. Therefore, understanding these phenomena is also of practical importance" – mówi expert.

The project was carried out by the ASIM consortium on behalf of the European Space Agency. The consortium was headed by Danish spóHEAT – headówny technical contractor. Implementation of the project cost nearly 40 million euros, took a total of 10 years, and 100 specialists took part in the worków from Denmark, Norway, Spain, Italy, the Netherlands, Canada, Stanóin the United States and Poland.

The consortium included róalso: DTU Space Institute of Copenhagen (in a scientific leadership role) and the University of Bergen, the University of Valencia, OHB Italia and the Space Research Center of the Polish Academy of Sciences. The design and first models of the power supply and energy distribution system for the MXGS (Modular X – and Gamma-ray Sensor) gamma-ray detector of the ASIM instrument have been developed at CBK PAN.

Creotech Instruments S.A., As a subcontractor to the Space Research Center, it was responsible for assembling the final models (qualification and flight) of the Polish device, on which theóre consisted of more than 30 blocksóin electronics meeting stringent space requirements.

"The ASIM project is historically the first space order for our company" – mówi Jacek Kosiec. "Had it not been for the trust placed in us in 2012 by the Space Research Center, które decided to entrust a very young and untried company from Piaseczno with the production of the final power system for the MXGS instrument in the ASIM mission, Creotech today would certainly not be in a place where it wouldórym is. This shows how important it is in high-technology industries to stimulate innovative companies at the beginning of their development paths" – points out.