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Other Designations: Fast Auroral Snapshot Explorer. Class: Earth. Type: Magnetosphere. Nation: United States. Agency: NASA, GSFC . Manufacturer: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

FAST will observe and measure rapidly varying electric and magnetic fields and the flow of electrons and ions above the aurora. FAST will correlate measurements of electrical and magnetic fields from other sensors and simultaneously correlate these forces with their effects on electrons and ions at altitudes of 350 to 4200 km. These observations will be complemented by data from other spacecraft at higher altitudes, which will be observing fields and particles and photographing the aurora from above, thus placing FAST observations in global context. At the same time, auroral observatories and geomagnetic stations on the ground will provide measurements on how the energetic processes FAST observes affect the Earth. Although prepared for mid-1994 launch date, FAST was placed into storage until a series of problems with the Pegasus launch vehicle could be corrected. The vehicle was finally placed into orbit on Aug 21, 1996. Spacecraft: Spin stabilised (12 rpm) keeping spin axis aligned with orbit-normal. Body mounted GaAs solar cells. Aluminum structure. Dual 80C85 rad hard processors. S-Band transponder for command and telemetry. Passive thermal control. Payload: Electric Field Experiment uses 3 orthogonal boom pairs to measure plasma density and electron temperature. Magnetic Field Experiment has 2 magnetometers 180 deg apart deployed on graphite booms. Time-of-Flight Energy Angle Mass Spectrograph (TEAMS) is a mass-resolving spectrometer designed to measure 3-dimension distribution functions of major ion species. Sixteen Electrostatic Analyzers (ESA) are used for electron and ion measurements from 3 eV to 30 KeV.
Total -$ 60 million mission - $ 27 million satellite + $ 18 million instruments +$ 15 million for launch.


Design Life: 1 year. Total Length: 1.8 m. Maximum Diameter: 1.2 m.

FAST Chronology

21 August 1996 FAST Program: Small Explorer. Launch Site: Vandenberg . Launch Vehicle: Pegasus XL. Perigee: 353 km. Apogee: 4,163 km. Inclination: 83.0 deg.

Second Small Explorer mission.


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Last update 12 March 2001.
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© Mark Wade, 2001 .