Macao Science 1 was developed by the State Key Laboratory of Lunar and Planetary Science at the Macau University of Science and Technology (MUST) and is being implemented with support from the China National Space Administration (CNSA) and the local government. It is the world's first and only scientific exploration satellite to be placed in a near-equatorial orbit to study the geomagnetic field, and specifically the South Atlantic Anomaly, from space. The launch is scheduled for December 2022.
The South Atlantic Anomaly is an area with a significantly weakened geomagnetic field and associated increased radiation activity. Its center lies off the coast of Brazil. The inner of the two Van Allen radiation belts extends to about 700 kilometers from the Earth at the equator. In the region of the South Atlantic Anomaly, it comes much closer to it. Together with ESA's SWARM mission, launched in 2013, the South Atlantic Anomaly, which is widening and deepening, will be explored and measured in greater detail than ever before. Macao Science 1 is designed to provide the team on the ground with high-precision, high-resolution, long-term vector magnetic field data and information about the high-energy particles in the region.
The satellite's overall length is more than eight meters and its weight is about 500 kilograms. The magnetic field sensors will be mounted on a 3.7-meter non-magnetic boom with an optical platform. The scientific payload consists of a high-energy particle detector, a star tracker, a fluxgate magnetometer, and a scalar magnetometer (CDSM), whose sensor and sensor-related electronics are contributed by IWF in cooperation with the Institute of Experimental Physics at Graz University of Technology (as was done for CSES-1 and CSES-2). The development of the processor and power supply electronics of the CDSM as well as its overall integration and testing are carried out by the Harbin Institute of Technology, Shenzhen.