The outer radiation belt injection, transport, acceleration and loss satellite (ORBITALS) is a small satellite mission proposed as a Canadian contribution to the satellite infrastructure for the International Living With a Star (ILWS) program. The ORBITALS will monitor the energetic electron and ion populations in the inner magnetosphere across a wide range of energies (keV to tens of MeV) as well as the dynamic electric and magnetic fields, waves and cold plasma environment which govern the injection, transport, acceleration and loss of these energetic and space weather critical particle populations. ORBITALS will be launched around 2010–2012 into a low-inclination GTO-like orbit which maximizes the long-lasting apogee-pass conjunctions with both the ground-based instruments of the Canadian Geospace Monitoring (CGSM) array as well as with the GOES East and West and geosynchronous communications satellites in the North American sector. Specifically, the ORBITALS will make the measurements necessary to gain fundamental new understanding of the relative importance of different physical acceleration and loss processes which are hypothesised to shape the energetic particle populations in the inner magnetosphere. The ORBITALS will also provide the raw radiation measurements at MEO altitudes necessary for the development of the next-generation of radiation belt specification models, and on-board experiments will also monitor the dose, single-event upset, and deep-dielectric charging responses of electronic components on-orbit. In this paper we outline the scientific objectives of the ORBITALS mission, discuss how the ORBITALS will lead to solutions to outstanding questions in inner magnetospheric science, and examine how the ORBITALS will complement other proposed inner magnetosphere missions in the ILWS era.
Advances in Space Research Vol. 38, Issue 8, p. 1838-1860