How we came to SMILE Graziella Branduardi-Raymont MSSL-UCL


How we came to SMILE

Graziella Branduardi-Raymont


Postgraduate lecture, MSSL, 16 February 2016

From mission concept to launch

• Scientific missions: research leads to more questions

• Space agencies (e.g. ESA, NASA, JAXA) issue

‘Announcements of Opportunity’ (AOs), or

‘mission calls’ proposals selection

• ESA Horizon 2000 (‘cornerstone’: SOHO, Cluster,

XMM-Newton, Rosetta)

Cosmic Vision 2015-2025

The Cosmic Vision programme includes a) CHEOPS (CHaracterizing ExOPlanet Satellite), small ( S-class ) mission for launch in 2017 (2012 call) b) Solar Orbiter , Euclid , and PLATO , medium

( M-class ) missions with launch slots in 2018,

2020 and 2024 (calls in 2007 and 2010) c) JUICE (Jupiter Icy Moons Explorer) and ATHENA

(Advanced Telescope for High-ENergy

Astrophysics), large ( L-class ) missions for launch in 2022 and 2028 (calls in 2007 and 2013)

Personal experience

• X-ray astronomer XMM-Newton Reflection

Grating Spectrometer MSSL project manager

• XMM-Newton proposal to ESA 1989 launch

1999 operations still ongoing

• Overall >25 years


Personal interests

• From Active Galactic Nuclei X-ray spectra …

NGC 5548 XMM-Newton RGS

Whewell et al. 2015

• … to planetary X-ray emissions …

Jupiter – XMM-Newton EPIC

North a.

OVII by Charge eXchange (CX)

South aurora e


• … to the Earth’s aurorae …

Apogee over North Pole

Perigee over South Pole

The Earth’s geocorona

• ROSAT variable soft X-ray background

• Time variable oxygen emission lines on the dark side of the Moon

Snowden et al. 1995

Wargelin et al. 2004

Chandra ACIS

Correlation with solar wind flux SWCX in Earth’s geocorona

• Suzaku observations of the NEP: increase in soft X-ray lines correlated with solar wind proton flux

• Systematic study with


Carter et al. 2008, 2010, 2011

Fujimoto et al. 2007

Solar Wind Charge eXchange (SWCX)

SW O 7+

O 6+

O 6+ *

0.57 keV

Harvard Univ.




α n

N n

SW v

SW eV cm -3 s -1

X-ray emission proportional to density of solar wind ions and neutrals, hence brightest in dayside magnetosheath and the cusps

From XMM-Newton to SMILE …

• X-rays from the Earth’s magnetosphere: noise for

XMM-Newton, interesting signal for planetary scientists

Fujimoto et al. 2007

• Idea of designing a mission to image the X-rays; collaboration with scientists at Leicester University and NASA +

• Proposed AXIOM (Advanced X-ray Imaging of the Magnetosphere) in response to ESA ‘s M3 call


… via AXIOM …

Wide FOV X-ray imaging and spectroscopy telescope

+ compact plasma package and magnetometer

AXIOM = Advanced X-ray Imaging Of the Magnetosphere

Small size payload, can be accommodated in a Vega launcher

Vantage point far out from Earth: Lissajous orbit at Earth-Moon

L1 point (~50R



- wide FOV imaging (10 R


- spatial resolution 0.1R

E scale) at best

- 1 – 15 min cadence

- plasma 3D distribution

- magnetic field measurements

B-R et al. 2012

… and AXIOM-C …

ESA Call for S-missions 2012 AXIOM-C re-targeted to focus on the magnetospheric cusps

(morphology, response to SW)

- LEO, Sun-synchronous, to

‘look out’ to cusps

- Flying through/below cusps allows (quasi-)simultaneous in situ measurements

Finally, in Jan. 2015 call by ESA and Chinese Academy of

Science for small joint science mission SMILE

Proposal submitted by 15 March 2015 selected in early June for initial study phase (ongoing) launch 2021


S olar wind M agnetosphere I onosphere L ink E xplorer

Graziella Branduardi-Raymont Chi Wang

MSSL – UCL NSSC – CAS on behalf the SMILE collaboration

SMILE scientific objectives

SMILE SXI simulation FUV image from IMAGE

Artist’s impression - NASA SDO EUV image

• Investigate the dynamic response of the Earth’s magnetosphere to the solar wind impact in a unique and global manner

• Combine Solar Wind Charge eXchange (SWCX) X-ray imaging of the dayside magnetosheath and the cusps with simultaneous UV imaging of the northern aurora, while monitoring the solar wind conditions in situ, all from a highly inclined elliptical Earth orbit

• Full chain of events that drive Sun-Earth relationships : dayside reconnection / magnetospheric substorm cycle / CME-driven storms

SMILE scientific motivations

SMILE SXI simulation FUV image from IMAGE

Artist’s impression - NASA SDO EUV image

• Structure and dynamics of the magnetosphere mainly controlled by magnetic reconnection

• Basic theory of magnetospheric circulation well known, microscale explored by many in situ measurements

• Reality of how complex interaction takes place on a global scale , and how it evolves, still not understood

SMILE precursors

SMILE SXI simulation FUV image from IMAGE

Artist’s impression - NASA SDO EUV image

• X-rays from the magnetosphere: from ‘ noise ’ to diagnostic tool

• Early concept missions: MagEX ( Sembay et al. 2008; Collier et al. 2009 ) and STORM ( Kuntz et al. 2008; Sibeck et al. 2011; Collier et al. 2015 ) proposed to NASA; AXIOM and AXIOM-C ( B-R et al. 2010, 2012 ) to ESA

• Lobster-eye X-ray optic : DXL/STORM flight (Thomas et al. 2013, Collier et al. 2015)

• Concept has matured substantially , ready to become a reality

SMILE mission and payload

SMILE SXI simulation FUV image from IMAGE

Artist’s impression - NASA SDO EUV image

• Small satellite (300 kg, power 70 W) in highly elliptical polar orbit

• SXI – Soft X-ray Imager of Solar Wind Charge eXchange (SWCX) emission (< 2 keV) with spectral capability

• UVI – UV Imager of the whole Northern auroral oval at high temporal and spatial resolution

• LIA – Light Ion Analyser (p and


) for in situ monitoring of solar wind / magnetosheath conditions (density, velocity, temperature)

• MAG – Magnetometer for in situ monitoring of the IMF

SMILE Soft X-ray Imager (SXI)

S. Sembay, Leicester Univ., UK

SMILE orbit simulation

A. Read, 2015



March 2015 solar storm

T. Sun, 2015

SMILE UltraViolet Imager (UVI)

• Four mirror reflective telescope

• UV bandpass (155-175 nm) accomplished by films on optical surfaces

• Image intensifier detector (photocathode MCP Phosphor (554 nm)

CMOS sensor)

E. Donovan, Univ. of Calgary, Canada

SMILE Light Ion Analyser (LIA)

& MAGnetometer (MAG)

• Top-hat analyser for p and

α density, velocity and temperature

• Energy range: 50 eV - 20 keV

• FOV : 360 o and up to +/-45 o with deflector plates

• Fluxgate magnetometer for magnetic field strength and direction

• 2.5 m boom, sensors separated by 0.8-1 m

L. Dai, NSSC, CAS, China

L. Li, NSSC, CAS, China

Payload Module


SMILE spacecraft




MAG boom

Service Module


SMILE shares of responsibilities

• CAS provides the Propulsion Module, Service Module, Spacecraft

Prime, Mission Operations (with ESA contribution), Chinese instruments

• ESA provides the Payload Module, launcher, AIT facilities for spacecraft integration and testing

• Science operations share to be further discussed

• European/Canadian instruments to be provided by ESA Member

States and Canada


SMILE milestones

• Science Study Team

– Three meetings held at ESTeC

• Concurrent Design Facility study (October 2015) with common sessions with

Chinese CDF

• Mission selection (November 2015)

– ESA proposal to Science Programme Committee

• Study phase (2 years)

- ITT for PLM July 2016

- Phase A (Definition) kick-off Nov. 2016

• Mission adoption (Q1 2018)

• Implementation phase (4 years)

• Launch Q4 2021

SMILE impact

SMILE SXI simulation FUV image from IMAGE

Artist’s impression - NASA SDO EUV image

• X-rays from the magnetosphere: from ‘ unwanted background ’ for X-ray astrophysical observatories to diagnostic tool of Sun-Earth relationships

• SMILE will trace and link processes of solar wind injection with those acting on charged particles precipitating into the cusps and the aurora

• Outreach : Captivate public to science (magnetic field) so far invisible

• Cooperation with China : SMILE is a showcase, building on Double Star experience