The fast satellite fields instrument

R. E. Ergun, C. W. Carlson, F. S. Mozer, G. T. Delory, M. Temerin, J. P. Mcfadden, D. Pankow, R. Abiad, P. Harvey, R. Wilkes, H. Primbsch, R. Elphic, R. Strangeway, R. Pfaff, Cynthia A Cattell

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


We describe the electric field sensors and electric and magnetic field signal processing on the FAST (Fast Auroral SnapshoT) satellite. The FAST satellite was designed to make high time resolution observations of particles and electromagnetic fields in the auroral zone to study small-scale plasma interactions in the auroral acceleration region. The DC and AC electric fields are measured with three-axis dipole antennas with 56 m, 8 m, and 5 m baselines. A three-axis fluxgate magnetometer measures the DC magnetic field and a three-axis search coil measures the AC magnetic field. A central signal processing system receives all signals from the electric and magnetic field sensors. Spectral coverage is from DC to ∼4 MHz. There are several types of processed data. Survey data are continuous over the auroral zone and have full-orbit coverage for fluxgate magnetometer data. Burst data include a few minutes of a selected region of the auroral zone at the highest time resolution. A subset of the burst data, high speed burst memory data, are waveform data at 2 × 106 sample s-1. Electric field and magnetic field data are primarily waveforms and power spectral density as a function of frequency and time. There are also various types of focused data processing, including cross-spectral analysis, fine-frequency plasma wave tracking, high-frequency polarity measurement, and wave-particle correlations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)67-91
Number of pages25
JournalSpace Science Reviews
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 2001


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