PROBA-3 is the next mission of the European Space Agency (ESA) in the PROBA line of small technology demonstration satellites. PROBA-3 is a mission dedicated to the in-orbit demonstration of precise formation flying techniques and technologies for future ESA missions. The mission consists of two small spacecraft launched together into a highly elliptical orbit around the Earth before separating. In effect the pair can fly as a virtual giant satellite and achieves this autonomously, without relying on guidance from the ground. The paired satellites together form a 150-m long solar coronagraph to study the Sun’s faint corona very close to the solar limb with very low straylight.
Two instruments are part of the mission: the coronagraph ASPIICS (Association of Spacecraft for Polarimetric and Imaging Investigation of the Corona of the Sun) to image both the quiescent and eruptive corona, and DARA (Digital Absolute RAdiometer), designed to measure the Total Solar Irradiance (TSI).
The ASPIICS Science Operations Centre (SOC) is located at the Royal Observatory of Belgium (Brussels). The SOC commands the instrument observations, processes the incoming science data and distributes them, monitors the instrument health and, in general, coordinates all the instrument activities.
ASPIICS is developed by a European consortium including about 20 partners from 7 countries under the auspices of the European Space Agency.
(list and logos of institutes and agencies involved)