Theodore A. Fritz
Professor Theodore Fritz received his Ph.D. and his MS at the University of Iowa and completed his BS degree at Virginia Polytechnic Institute.
His research interests include the following fields: space plasma physics; magnetospheric physics; magnetosphere-ionosphere coupling, substorms; charged particles and compositions; and rocket and satellite experiments.
Professor Fritz conducts an experimental program in space plasma physics concerning the study of energetic charged particles and the ionic composition of these particles in the magnetospheres of planets with an emphasis here at Earth.
An aspect of this program provides scientific instruments to detect and measure charged particles in the space environment, as part of the payloads of scientific satellites and rockets. This hardware related program involves the design, fabrication, testing, particle beam calibrations, response simulation and integration of these scientific instruments primarily on NASA scientific satellites and sounding rockets. Past efforts include the NASA Global Geospace Science [GGS] POLAR satellite launched in 1996 and the joint NASA/European Space Agency [ESA] International Solar Terrestrial Physics [ISTP] CLUSTER II set of four satellites launched (on the second try) in 2000. An energetic electron spectrometer was flown into a pulsating aurora by means of a sounding rocket from northern Norway in February 1994 as the PULSAUR II mission.
More recent efforts have included the Loss Cone Imager (LCI) detector suite, which will fly on the Demonstration and Space Experiments (DSX) mission run by the US Air Force Research Lab. Professor Fritz has also directed large groups of mostly undergraduate students on two rounds of BUsat, an entry in the University Nanosatellite Program (UNP), a competition to develop a real-world, flyable small satellite. Current areas of hardware development involve utilizing the advances in electronics to shrink the energetic particle sensor system including all its necessary electronics to fit in the volume available on a CubeSat mission.
In addition to providing detector payloads, the EPG group under Professor Fritz's direction preserves and studies the resulting datasets, as well as datasets from other energetic particle, plasma, and magnetic field satellite missions, such as ATS-6, Scatha, ISEE 1 & 2, CRRES, NOAA/TIROS-N, and INJUN 3.