e-POP Project Schedule

The launch of CASSIOPE occurred on September 29, 2013 onboard a Falcon 9 launch vehicle from Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX). CASSIOPE was launched from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California.

The development of the CASSIOPE/e-POP program has progressed through a number of phases, including:

Initial Concept and Feasibility Phase (1996-2000)
The initial concept of e-POP was a small (70 kg), inexpensive, 3-instrument scientific micro-satellite called 'Polar Outflow Probe', or POP. POP was selected for Feasibility Study (Phase A) by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) in 1997 and for development as a 'hot-standby' mission thereafter.
Design Phase (2000-2005)
Under the Canadian Small Satellite Bus program, the CSA sought to minimize cost and maximize efficiency by combining the 'Enhanced Polar Outflow Probe' (e-POP) - an enhanced version of POP - with Cascade, a commercial payload from MDA Corporation, onto one satellite, and to design and build a generic, low-cost, small-satellite bus to accommodate the two payloads. This became what is now CASSIOPE, a 500 kg small satellite with MDA as the prime contractor for the overall mission. This phase also included the detailed design of each of the eight e-POP instruments, three of which were designed from the ground up (GAP, NMS, and RRI), and five that were improved or modified versions of previous flight-proven instruments (CER, FAI, IRM, MGF, and SEI).
Build Phase (2005-2006)
The 8 e-POP instruments were designed and built by a number of Canadian university, government and industrial partners and international partners:
InstrumentPrincipal Investigator Institute and Industrial Partners
CERU.S. Naval Research Lab
FAIUniversity of Calgary, Burley Scientific, Routes AstroEngineering
GAPUniversity of New Brunswick, Bristol Aerospace
IRMUniversity of Calgary
MGFUniversity of Calgary, Magnametrics, Bennest Enterprises, Narod Geophysics
RRICRC, University of Calgary, COM DEV
SEIUniversity of Calgary
Instrument-Level Calibration and Test Phase (2006-2007)
After each instrument was assembled it went through a battery of tests and calibration procedures to ensure it met its design requirements, and to allow the researchers to characterize how each of these one-of-a-kind instruments behaves.
e-POP Payload Integration Phase (2007)
This phase involved delivering each instrument to the University of Calgary where they were integrated with the spacecraft command and data handling unit simulator to ensure compatibility with both the spacecraft and the other e-POP instruments.
Spacecraft-Level Integration and Testing Phase (2008-2009)
CASSIOPECASSIOPE during integration and testing
Once all of the eight scientific instruments were assembled as the e-POP payload, they were shipped to Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg, MB for integration onto the satellite. Following this, the satellite bus and its two payloads were moved to the CSA's David Florida Laboratory in Ottawa, ON, for environmental testing, including:
  • Thermal vacuum testing
  • Vibration testing
  • Acoustic testing
  • Shock testing
  • Electromagnetic compatibility testing
Launch and Early Operations Phase (Sep-Oct 2013)
Initial checkouts were completed successfully. The spacecraft survived the stresses of launch and was in excellent health at first contact.
Operations Phase (2013-???)
CASSIOPE has been be in full operation for over three years. This phase involves operation of the e-POP payload and a demonstration of MDA's Cascade payload. Re-entry of the spacecraft into the Earth's atmosphere (and complete burn-up) is expected sometime between 2019 and 2021.

©2016 Department of Physics and Astronomy, University of Calgary