Three student groups of our University participate in the ESEO student satellite project of the European Space Agency. One of the groups develops a Langmuir probe for investigation of the ionosphere. The project aims to help university students to gain extended knowledge in the fields of space research and technology, as well as to provide them with future opportunities to work in the space industry. The Langmuir probe experiment, being part of the scientific program of the mission, will measure the density and temperature of charged particles in the ionosphere.
The first part of the thesis gives a short introduction to plasma physics, with the main focus being on the plasma properties relevant to the experiment. The scientific objectives and considerations of the construction and configuration of the detector are also presented in this chapter. The main part of the thesis discusses the electrical and mechanical design of the two units of the payload; the Langmuir detector and the electronics. Material and component selection criteria are also included, as well as the detailed electrical circuit diagrams of the developed electronic parts. Test results are presented to verify that the developed circuits meet the specification requirements.
The concluding chapter gives a brief summary of the project milestones and discusses the next steps in the development of the Langmuir probe experiment.