Light-1 CubeSat Detector (RAAD) for the study of Terrestrial Gamma-Ray Flashes: Space Qualification, First Data Set, and Correlations with Lightning

Lolowa Al Kindi, Francesco Arneodo, Adriano di Giovanni, Mallory S.E. Roberts, Panos Oikonomou, Ahlam Al Qasim, Aisha Al Mannaei, Noora Al Marri, Fatema Al Khouri, Firas Salah Jarrar, Panagiotis Pimitropoulos, Basel AlTawil, Laura Manenti, Gianmarco Bruno, Rodrigo Torres, Sebastian Kalos, Valerio Conicella, Thu Vu, Heyam Al Blooshi

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


RAAD (Rapid Acquisition Atmospheric Detector), the winner of the UAE Space Agency's Mini-Sat Competition in 2018, is the payload of the Light-1 3U CubeSat. RAAD is composed of two detectors designed and optimized for studying Terrestrial Gamma-Ray Flashes (TGFs) through the use of two different types of scintillating crystals (Cerium Bromide and Lanthanum BromoChloride) coupled to S13361-6050AE-04 Hamamatsu Silicon Photomultipliers (SiPMs) and R11265-200 Hamamatsu Photomultiplier Tubes (PMTs). Each detector consists of a 2 × 2 array of crystals and photosensors, each fitting into 1U of a CubeSat and less, providing an effective area of 40cm2 at 50keV, and 20cm2 at 511keV. RAAD's unique combination of scintillating crystals and photosensors, along with the custom-designed readout electronics, overcomes the deadtime and timing precision limitations along with the low resolution at lower energies (<50keV) that are found in previous missions that had tried to detect TGFs. The custom-designed payload electronics provide the required spectroscopic and timing capabilities within the low power budget constraints (<4.5W on average) of the mission. We're aiming at the 20keV - 3000keV energy range, few hundreds ns time response, and good energy resolution (around 5 percent @ 511keV). We present the performed space qualification tests, the payload mechanics, its calibrations, and pre-flight particle and signal simulations for the characterization of the expected response. We also present for the very first time the first set of data obtained from Light-1 CubeSat, correlated with lightning strikes from Blitzortung Lightning Network.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalProceedings of the International Astronautical Congress, IAC
StatePublished - 2022
Event73rd International Astronautical Congress, IAC 2022 - Paris, France
Duration: Sep 18 2022Sep 22 2022


  • CubeSat
  • Lightning
  • Particle Detector
  • Photomultiplier
  • Scintillating crystals
  • Terrestrial Gamma-Ray Flashes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

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


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