The Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer (SMILE) is a Chinese Academy of Science (CAS) and European Space Agency (ESA) collaborative science mission designed to study the interaction between the solar wind and Earth's magnetosphere, and the geospace dynamics that result, comprising a fundamental aspect of heliophysics. Primary goals are investigating the dynamic response of the Earth’s magnetosphere to the solar wind impact via simultaneous in situ solar wind/magnetosheath plasma and magnetic field measurements, X-Ray images of the magnetosheath and magnetic cusps, and UV images of global auroral distributions. Imaging of the magnetosphere and auroras for more than 40 hours continuously from a highly elliptical northern orbit.
Baseline orbit: 1 x 20 Earth radii, 70-98 inclination
Launch: November 2024
Launcher: As primary passenger on Vega-C or co-passenger on Ariane 62
Nominal mission duration: 3 years
The SMILE mission carries a suite of state-of-the-art scientific instruments enabling novel investigations.
Key payloads are:
the Soft X-ray Imager (SXI) : It will spectrally map the Earth's magnetopause, magnetosheath and magnetospheric cusps;
the Ultraviolet Imager (UVI) :dedicated to imaging the auroral regions;
the Light Ion Analyser (LIA) : establish the solar wind properties (plasma parameters) simultaneously with the imaging instruments.
the MAGnetometer (MAG): establish the solar wind properties (magnetic field parameters) simultaneously with the imaging instruments.
The SMILE international consortium includes CAS, ESA, as well as major institutions in several European countries, Canada and USA partners.
Figure1.:SMILE spacecraft 3D model during the phase 0 study.
Figure2: The SMILE platform (PF) in launch configuration.