Космический эксперимент «Микроспутник» на Российском сегменте международной космической станции
The last few decades saw serious changes in the scientific community’s understanding of the nature of lightning discharges in the Earth atmosphere, which, in particular, had to do with the use for such studies of the new scientific equipment installed on spacecraft. The existence of a physical process previously unknown to science, which was given the name of Terrestrial Gamma Flushes, was discovered in the early 1990s. It is characterized by extremely powerful gamma-bursts and radio-frequency pulses generated in the Earth’s upper atmosphere that are observable in a wide range of electromagnetic spectrum frequencies. In order to study this kind of processes and mechanisms generating gamma-bursts, electromagnetic emissions in a wide range of frequencies (including infrared and ultraviolet regions) during high-altitude atmospheric lightning discharges, it is necessary to be able to take ionospheric measurements with a very high time resolution (at the level of a few microseconds), as well as to take simultaneous measurements in the optical, radio and gamma bands.
To address these important scientific problems, on January 25, 2012, using a cargo transportation spacecraft Progress-M, which had performed a mission for the infrastructure of the Iternational Space Station Russian Segment, an academic microsatellite Chibis-M was put into a standalone 513 km circular orbit with an inclination of 52°.