3U CubeSat for monitoring terrestrial gamma-ray flashes: Bus design and concept of operations

Aysha Alharam, Prashanth Marpu, Firas Jarrar, Panagiotis Dimitropoulos, Hamzeh Issa, Thu Vu, Ebrahim Almansoori, Amina Al-Balooshi, Ali AlMahmood, Yaqoob Alqassab, Ahmed Bushlaibi, Ahmed Albuainain, Ashraf Khater, Ali Alqaraan, Aaesha Almazrouei, Aaliya Khan, Reem Al Ali, Ruqayya Alhammadi, Shaima Zeyad, Abdulla AlmesmariAlya Alhammadi, Mohammad Taha Ansari, Mallory Roberts, Adriano Di Giovanni, Lolowa Alkindi, Heyam Al Balooshi

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


Light1 is a 3U CubeSat that is planned for launch in the third quarter of 2021 from International Space Station (ISS). Its primary mission is to study Terrestrial Gamma-ray Flashes (TGFs) associated with thunderstorm and lightning activities. This satellite is a result of the collaboration between Khalifa University of Science and Technology (KU) and New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD). Ligh1 is a project that is funded by the UAE Space Agency and the Bahrain National Space Science Agency. The primary mission payload was selected as a result of the UAE MiniSat competition organized UAE Space Agency and KU in 2018. NYUAD has won the competition and developed the Rapid Acquisition Atmospheric Detector (RAAD). Light1Bus development and operations are the responsibility of the KU team. This paper describes the bus design and mission analysis for Light1. In its normal operation, Light1 is expected to generate around 50 MB per day for scientific analysis on the ground. This data downlink can be achieved by using an S-band transmitter. In addition, multiple ground stations operation is required to maximize the access time for downlink.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
StatePublished - 2020
Event71st International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2020 - Virtual, Online
Duration: Oct 12 2020Oct 14 2020


  • 3U
  • ConOps
  • RAAD
  • TGF

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Space and Planetary Science


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