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Mission typecoupling between magnetosphere, ionosphere and atmosphere
OperatorFrance CNES
Mission duration2 to 4 years
Spacecraft properties
Launch mass152 kg
Start of mission
Launch date2019
Orbital parameters
RegimeSun-synchronous orbit

TARANIS (Tool for the Analysis of Radiation from lightning and Sprites) is an observation satellite of the French Space Agency (CNES) which will study the transient events produced in the Earth's atmospheric layer between 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) and 100 kilometres (62 mi) altitude.[1][2] TARANIS will be launched in 2019 and placed in a sun-synchronous orbit at an altitude of 700 km, for a mission duration of at least two years.

Science objectives[edit]

The satellite is intended to collect data on transient events that are observed during thunderstorms.[3] These events are happening between the medium and upper atmosphere, the ionosphere and the magnetosphere (radiation belts). The resulting phenomena in visible light are called Transient Luminous Events (TLE) and take a great diversity of forms (elves, halos, blue jets) varying in color, shape and duration. Thunderstorms are also known to generate gamma and X-ray emissions called Terrestrial Gamma-Ray Flashes (TGF), generated by intense electric fields in which the electrons are accelerated to the point of reaching an energy up to 30 MeV. The link between TLEs and TGFs is one of the scientific questions of the TARANIS mission.[3] The Lightning-induced Electron Precipitations (LEP) will also be studied.[3] All these events have associated electromagnetic wave emissions that will be investigated as well.[3]

The Atmosphere-Space Interaction Monitor (ASIM) will operate as the same time as TARANIS and will provide complementary observations.

Technical characteristics[edit]

The TARANIS micro-satellite has a mass of 152 kg, and uses the Myriade platform powered by solar panels providing 85 W. The amount of data transferred is planned to be 24 GB per day. The scientific payload is made of six instruments[4]

  • MCP,[5] set of 2 cameras et de 3 photometers, 30 frames/s, 512x512 pixels and measuring the luminance in several spectral bands at high resolution;
  • XGRE,[6][7] set of 3 detectors to measure high energy photons (20 keV to 10 MeV) and relativistic electrons (1 MeV to 10 MeV);
  • IDEE,[8][7] set of 2 electron detectors to measure their spectrum between 70 keV to 4 MeV together with their pitch angle;
  • IME-BF,[9] low frequency antenna to measure the electric field to a frequency up to 3.3 MHz;
  • IME-HF,[10] high frequency antenna to measure the electric field at frequencies of 100 kHz to 30 MHz;
  • IMM,[11] a tri-axis magnetometer of « search-coil » type to measure the magnetic field.

The studied phenomena last not more than a few milliseconds (except blue jets), therefore a specific recording method is implemented. Scientific instruments operate continuously and data is stored in a memory that is regularly purged of its oldest elements. If a phenomenon is noticed through one of the triggering instrument (XGRE, IDEE, MCP, IME-HF), the data of all the instruments corresponding to the period it took place is saved, and later transmitted to the ground.[6]


  1. ^ "Taranis". taranis.cnes.fr. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  2. ^ Lefeuvre, Francois; Blanc, Elisabeth; Pinçon, Jean-Louis; Roussel-Dupré, Robert; Lawrence, David; Sauvaud, Jean-André; Rauch, Jean-Louis; Feraudy, Hervé de; Lagoutte, Dominique (2008-06-01). "TARANIS—A Satellite Project Dedicated to the Physics of TLEs and TGFs". Space Science Reviews. 137 (1–4): 301–315. doi:10.1007/s11214-008-9414-4. ISSN 0038-6308.
  3. ^ a b c d "Mission". taranis.cnes.fr. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  4. ^ "Laboratoire de Physique et Chimie de l'Environnement et de l'Espace - TARANIS". www.lpc2e.cnrs.fr (in French). Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  5. ^ Farges, Thomas; Blanc, Elisabeth; Hébert, Philippe; Le Mer-Dachard, Fanny; Ravel, Karen; Gaillac, Stéphanie (2017-04-01). "MicroCameras and Photometers (MCP) on board TARANIS satellite". Egu General Assembly Conference Abstracts. 19: 6024. Bibcode:2017EGUGA..19.6024F.
  6. ^ a b "TARANIS | LABORATOIRE". www.apc.univ-paris7.fr. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  7. ^ a b Sarria, David; Lebrun, Francois; Blelly, Pierre-Louis; Chipaux, Remi; Laurent, Philippe; Sauvaud, Jean-Andre; Prech, Lubomir; Devoto, Pierre; Pailot, Damien (2017-07-13). "TARANIS XGRE and IDEE detection capability of terrestrial gamma-ray flashes and associated electron beams". Geoscientific Instrumentation, Methods and Data Systems. 6 (2): 239–256. doi:10.5194/gi-6-239-2017. ISSN 2193-0856.
  8. ^ VERT, Pole web service communication OMP - Pierre. "TARANIS / Techniques et missions spatiales / La recherche / OMP - OMP". www.obs-mip.fr (in French). Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  9. ^ ES. "Instumentation". taranis.latmos.ipsl.fr. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  10. ^ "TARANIS IME-HF | CZECH SPACE OFFICE". www.czechspace.cz. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  11. ^ "Laboratoire de Physique et Chimie de l'Environnement et de l'Espace - Search Coil". www.lpc2e.cnrs.fr (in French). Retrieved 2018-01-10.