Studies of the ionosphere using radiophysical methods on ultra-small spacecrafts
The principal possibility to measure the plasma density and its fluctuations in the ionosphere on ultra-small space vehicles using radiophysical methods is shown. These methods allow us to determine the characteristics of the medium by the properties of the received radiation. It is assumed that each small spacecraft has a satellite navigation receiver as well as a device for emitting and detecting a signal at two multiple frequencies in the radio band. In this approach, information on plasma density is contained in the received phase difference. Radio receivers and radio transmitters on satellites constantly exchange radio signals and then it is possible to determine the plasma density and its fluctuations from the phase shift. Numerical estimates are also made to determine the maximum distance between satellites where one can reliably receive a radio signal.