About Us The Space Science Lab (SSL) at the University of Massachusetts Lowell was founded with the goal of conducting experimental and analytical research in atmospheric and space sciences, to provide research opportunities for graduate and undergraduate students, and to demonstrate how research and development solve real world problems.
Science SSL conducts scientific investigations in Space Weather, Magnetospheric Physics, Ionospheric Physics and Radio Sciences. Computer scientists at SSL develop advanced search and visualization programs, database applications, and networking systems.
Active space research projects include solar wind - magnetosphere interaction modeling, magnetosphere-ionosphere-thermosphere coupling theory, plasmasphere sounding and modeling, plasmasphere depletion and refilling processes, ionosphere sounding and modeling, radiation belt wave-particle interactions, antenna-plasma interaction, antenna radiation theory and experiments, whistler mode wave propagation and ionospheric coupling.
Current & Future Projects
Development of a prototype digital radio sounder for NASA’s planetary missions is underway, and a high power VLF transmitter for an Air Force radiation belt satellite is being built for a launch in 2009.
The sounder instrumentation development, driven by space applications, demands advanced digital technologies in order to reduce size, weight and cost, and to increase functionality, reliability, precision and accuracy.
Space - Borne Sounding
A major breakthrough in space-borne radio sounding occurred when the NASA IMAGE satellite was launched in 2000. It carries for the first time a radio sounder into the magnetosphere, the Radio Plasma Imager or RPI, built at University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML) to remotely measure Earth’s space plasma up to distances of several Earth radii. The results from the RPI measurements have stimulated the space science community. Demands for space-borne sounders and transmitters have grown greatly.
Ground - Based Sounding Radio sounding provides a means to probe remotely and in situ space plasma conditions. In an effort to map the structure and dynamics of the global ionosphere, UML has built more than 70 ground-based ionospheric radio sounders for institutions worldwide. This global network provides real time information on the highly dynamic ionospheric conditions via the Internet to scientific users and communications services.
and Equipment SSL uses 12,000 sqf of laboratory
and office space on third floor of the Wannalancit building.
The laboratories are equipped with the usual measuring
equipment required for the development of analog and
digital electronic systems: spectrum analyzers, circuit
analyzers, oscilloscopes, etc. Numerical analysis work
is mainly carried out on PCs that are networked together.