ASIM/Columbus/ISS is a project selected by ESA to be developed for Columbus module of International Space Station ISS.

logo ASIM[dot]ASIM (Atmosphere-Space Interactions Monitor) aboard ISS is proposed for the study of high-altitude optical emission from the stratosphere and mesosphere related to thunderstorms (Transient Luminous Effects, TLE).

[dot]One of the two main ASIM instruments is Miniature-X and Gamma-ray Sensor (MXGS) designed by the University of Bergen and University of Valencia in cooperation with CBK PAN in Warsaw.

[dot]CBK group was responsible for the design and manufacture of the Power Supply Unit and its autonomous (FPGA based) Housekeeping System. The Unit delivers the low and high voltages for two layers of detectors – CZT main detector array and BGO anticoincidence blocks.

[dot]The ASIM observatory has been successfully launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral for the ISS on 2 April 2018. It will observe gigantic lightning and Gamma-ray flashes powered by thunderstorms. The MXGS instrument carries two set of detectors for TGF. The low energy detector senstive in the spectrcal band from 15 keV to 400 keV and the high energy detector sensitive from 200 keV to 40 MeV. The low energy detector is pixellated in 128 by 128 channels, which, in combination with a high mass density coded mask in front of the detector, allows advanced post-processing algorithms to pin point the direction to the TGF source. Creotech Instruments S.A., as a subcontractor of Centrum Badań Kosmicznych PAN, was responsible for assembling the final (qualified and flight) models of Polish instrument, which included more than 30 blocks of electronics that meets the strong requirements to work in space.

[dot]In 2008 the project was in phase B - the first documents (requirements and specifications) had been delivered in 2007 to ESA for SRR.

ASIM STM integration[dot]During 2009 the activities in SRC were concentrated on finalization of phase B of the Project (CDR passed in the second half of the year) and the modifications of the MXGS concept due to possible implementation of the anticoincidence (BGO) layer for the instrument.

[dot]In 2010 the first phase of prototyping of PSU block in CBK has been finished. The block has been succesfully tested at University of Bergen. The contract for realization of polish contribution for phase C/D of ASIM experiment has been signed with DTU Space in Copenhagen based on PECS Programme.

[dot]The design and manufacturing of the first engineering models have been started in 2011. The autonomous state machine, based on Actel FPGA, is used for control all output rails in the Power Supply Unit, more than 140 important points in MXGS (voltages, currents and temperatures) are monitored by this state machine also.

ASIM EM integration[dot]The STM model of DCDC block of MXGS/ASIM/ISS instrument has been delivered to Spain in 2012. The first Polish tender for industrial activities on flight models (eg. on EQM and FM models of DCDC block) has been published. ASIM STM integration is shown on the photo above.

[dot]In 2013 the design and manufacturing of EM model of DCDC block of MXGS/ASIM/ISS instrument has been finished. It has been integrated with other subsystems. The activities have been performed in SRC PAS and Creotech – the first Polish company involved in manufacturing of space electronics according to EPSS rules.

ASIM calibration[dot]In 2014 the EM model of DCDC block of MXGS/ASIM/ISS instrument has been integrated with MXGS. The manufacturing of FM model of DCDC block has been started on the base of industrial contract CBK PAN and Creotech. In parallel the GSTP contract has been signed between ESA Creotech and CBK PAN for the certification of the manufacturing line for space electronics in Creotech.

ASIM final assembling[dot]In 2015 the FM model of the DCDC block was manufactured by Creotech Instrument S.A. and CBK, and tested by CBK and Astrofein-Technic in Berlin. Some activities were supported by the European Space Agency (the GSTP contract for certification of the space electronics manufacturing line at Creotech).

ASIM FM in Kennedy Space Center[dot]In 2016 the FM model of the DCDC block of MXGS/ASIM/ISS instrument has been delivered to Crisa in Spain, then integrated within the whole MXGS instrument. The integration and environmental tests have been successfully finished. Instrument currently stays in CGS in Milano and is integrated within ASIM CEPA Platform.

[dot]In 2017 all the activities on ASIM were concentrated in Spain and Italy, where the Flight Model of MXGS and ASIM were finally integrated and tested. All the documents necessary for delivery the flight instrument have been completed. In November the instrument was delivered to Kennedy Space Center (the photo on right) for the hand over to ESA/NASA and later Space –X.

[dot]ASIM was launched on 2 April 2018 with CRS-14 Falcon-9/Dragon by SpaceX. The instrument was mounted on external platform of COLUMBUS module of ISS. Then the commissioning phase of the instruments has been performed showing the full operability of ASIM.

[dot]In 2019, ASIM performed routine observations onboard the ISS. The results have been published in papers in several journals, notably Science, vol.367.

last update 4 March 2020