BackForwardInstrument:  HPCA 

Instrument details
Acronym HPCA
Full name Hot Plasma Composition Analyzer
Purpose To measure minor ions such as oxygen and helium in regions of high flux.
Short description Novel radio-frequency technique to measure ions with energy range 0.01-30 keV/n for Z from 1 to 8; Time resolution 15 s.
Background Part of a package of instruments to implement the SMART (Solving Magnetospheric Acceleration, Reconnection, and Turbulence) mission
Scanning Technique 4 satellites co-flying in tetrehedral pattern, moving to different positions into the Magnetosphere for 3-D field reconstruction
Resolution N/A
Coverage / Cycle Full magnetospheric volume
Mass Power Data Rate


Providing Agency NASA
Instrument Maturity Flown on an R&D satellite
Utilization Period: 2015 to ≥2020
Last update: 2017-06-05
Detailed characteristics
Satellites this instrument is flying on

Note: a red tag indicates satellites no longer operational, a green tag indicates operational satellites, a blue tag indicates future satellites

Instrument classification
  • Solar and space environment monitors
  • Energetic particle spectrometer
Mission objectives
Primary mission objectives
  • Alpha particles differential directional flux
  • Heavy ion flux energy and mass spectrum
  • Proton differential directional flux
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Tentative Evaluation of Measurements

The following list indicates which measurements can typically be retrieved from this category of instrument. To see a full Gap Analysis by Variable, click on the respective variable.

Note: table can be sorted by clicking on the column headers
VariableRelevance for measuring this variableOperational limitationsExplanation
Proton differential directional flux1 - primaryNo specific limitation.Cluster flown through the magnetosphere, low energy (up to 40 keV)
Alpha particles differential directional flux3 - highNo specific limitation.Cross-magnetosphere satellite cluster. Low-medium energy range (<10 up to 100 MeV/n)
Heavy ion flux energy and mass spectrum1 - primaryNo specific limitation.Cross-magnetosphere satellite cluster. Low-medium energy range (<10 up to 100 MeV/n)