Fast Auroral Snapshot Explorer
The Fast Auroral Snapshot Explorer (FAST) was a NASA plasma physics satellite, and was the second spacecraft in the Small Explorer program. It was launched on August 21, 1996, from Vandenberg Air Force Base aboard a Pegasus XL rocket. The spacecraft was designed and built by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center. Flight operations were handled by Goddard for the first three years, and thereafter were transferred to the University of California, Berkeley's Space Sciences Laboratory.
Illustration of FAST
|Mission type||Auroral plasma physics|
|Operator||NASA / Goddard |
Space Sciences Laboratory
|Mission duration||Planned: 1 year |
Final: 12 years, 8 months, 9 days
|Manufacturer||NASA / Goddard|
|Launch mass||191.3 kg (421.7 lb)|
|Payload mass||65.3 kg (144.0 lb)|
|Dimensions||1.02 × 0.93 m (3.3 × 3.1 ft)|
|Start of mission|
|Launch date||August 21, 1996, 09:47UTC|
|Launch site||Stargazer |
Vandenberg AFB, California, U.S.
|End of mission|
|Deactivated||May 1, 2009|
|Semi-major axis||8,300.4 km (5,157.6 mi)|
|Perigee altitude||346.8 km (215.5 mi)|
|Apogee altitude||3,497.8 km (2,173.4 mi)|
|Argument of perigee||109.0590°|
|Mean motion||11.4802 rev/day|
|Epoch||September 5, 2015, 03:48:35 UTC|
FAST was designed to observe and measure the plasma physics of the auroral phenomena which occur around both of Earth's poles. While its Electric Field Experiment failed around 2002, all other instruments continued to operate normally until science operations were ended on May 1, 2009. Various engineering tests were conducted afterward.
- Electrostatic Analyzers (ESA): measured electron and ion distribution
- Time-of-flight Energy Angle Mass Spectrograph (TEAMS): measured three-dimensional distribution of major ion species
- Tri-Axial Fluxgate and Search-coil Magnetometers: measured magnetic field data
- Electric Field and Langmuir Probe Experiment: measured electric field data, plasma density and temperature
- "FAST Facts". University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
- "News & Events". FAST Education and Public Outreach. University of California, Berkeley. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
- Pfaff, R.; et al. (August 2001). "An Overview of the Fast Auroral SnapshoT (FAST) Satellite" (PDF). Space Science Reviews. 98 (1/2): 1–32. Bibcode:2001SSRv...98....1P. doi:10.1023/A:1013187826070.
- "Fast Auroral Snapshot Explorer". Goddard Space Flight Center. Archived from the original on June 8, 2012.
- "FAST - Orbit". Heavens Above. September 5, 2015. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
- "FAST". National Space Science Data Center. NASA. Retrieved September 5, 2015.
Media related to FAST at Wikimedia Commons
- FAST website by the University of California Berkeley
- FAST Education & Public Outreach website
- FAST website by NASA's Science Mission Directorate
- FAST website (archived) by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center
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