Scientists at the Center for Space Physics (CSP) use satellites, rockets and ground-based instruments to study the upper atmospheres and plasma environments of the Earth, the planets, moons, comets, interplanetary space and the Sun. The Center is an interdisciplinary research facility at Boston University that links programs in the Colleges of Arts and Science and of Engineering. In addition to the TERRIERS mission, the CSP is involved in numerous rocket experiments and has experiments on board the NASA POLAR mission, the Cassini mission to Saturn; and Rosetts/Champollion, a small sub-satellite that will land on a comet in the next century. Currently the Center staff are developing various future missions including Cluster and a constellation pathfinder mission.
The guiding principles for U.S. exploration of air and space have remained remarkably consistent for more than 80 years. In 1915, when aviation was still in its infancy, Congress created an organization that would "supervise and direct the scientific study of the problems of flight, with a view to their practical solutions." That organization, the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, evolved into NASA four decades later when Congress formed a civilian agency to lead "the expansion of human knowledge of phenomena in the atmosphere and space." NASA and USRA developed the Student Explorer Demonstration Initiative (STEDI), to address the challenge of making orbital science accessible to students as well as NASA Administrator Daniel Goldin's challenge to the university community to find ways to explore space that are "faster, better, and cheaper."
The Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) conducts a broadly-based multidisciplinary program of scientific research and advanced technological development directed toward maritime applications of new and improved materials, techniques, equipment, system, and ocean, atmospheric, and space sciences and related technologies. Dr. Paul Bernhardt directed a team at NRL that built the radio beacon experiment for TERRIERS.
MIT's Haystack Observatory is an interdisciplinary research center engaged in radio astronomy, geodesy, atmospheric sciences, and radar applications. Boston University's Center for Space Physics is a member of the Northeast Radio Observatory Corporation (NEROC), a consortium of 13 educational and research institutions which operates the Haystack radio telescope under agreement with MIT. Haystack Observatory is located in the adjoining towns of Westford, Tyngsborough, and Groton, Massachusetts. Observations at the Millstone Hill Radar facility will be correlated with measurements taken by the satellite.
The Universities Space Research Association, incorporated 30 years ago, provides a mechanism through which universities can cooperate effectively with one another, with the government, and with other organizations to further space science and technology, and to promote education in these areas. The STEDI program was initially conceived by Dr. Paul Coleman, President of USRA. Jack Sevier, director of USRA's division of educational programs and STEDI program manager has provided oversight for the three STEDI missions.
AeroAstro designed and built the spacecraft bus for the TERRIERS mission. The company, based in Herndon, Virginia, is involved in the development, launch and operations of low cost space systems. Their mission is to introduce innovative and affordable space-based solutions to a broader range of customers. They have also engineered successful low cost space programs for LANL, NASA, MIT, USAF and others.