POLARIS is an astrophyiscs CubeSat mission to observe the high-energy emission of blackholes and neutron stars. Developed by the SHC, this mission is currently under development and intended to fly in 2021-22.
The scattering particle tracker (SPT) is the primary instrument of POLARIS. Proposed and developed by students at UAH, this instrument records the scattering of high-energy photons, or gamma-rays, to determine the polarization of emission from black holes and neutron stars.
High energy polarization is a unique and largely unobserved propertry of photons that reveals the production mechanisms that create them. Obsevtions of polarization provide new insight into dynamics of pulsar magnetosphere and black hole accretion disks
The spacecraft structure is designed to save mass and provide protection from the unique thermal enviornment
To accomplish the science mission the spacecraft must point at astrophyiscal sources with several degree accuracy, using combinations of sensors, reaction wheels, and magnetorquers.
All spacecraft systems will powered using solar cell arrays and onboard batteries.
Data storage and transmission is a vital function of the spacecraft. This must operate on its own to maintain the spacecraft and recieve commands from our ground station here at UAH.