California Institute of Technology

The Solar, Anomalous, Magnetospheric Particle Explorer (SAMPEX)

SAMPEX, the first of NASA's new Small Explorer (SMEX) series, was launched July 3, 1992 into an 82 deg inclination orbit carrying four instruments designed to measure energetic nuclei and electrons over a broad dynamic range. SAMPEX is designed to study energetic particles of solar, interplanetary, and magnetospheric origin, as well as "anomalous" cosmic rays, thought to be accelerated at the solar wind termination shock, and cosmic rays from Galactic sources. While over the geomagnetic poles SAMPEX can measure the interplanetary flux of energetic particles; at lower latitudes it surveys magnetospheric particles over all local times twice a day. The instruments on SAMPEX include:

The SAMPEX Data Center at Caltech now serves a comprehensive archive of SAMPEX data and documentation to the community.

For further information on the SAMPEX instruments and spacecraft see the May 1993 issue (Volume 31, No. 2) of IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing or MAST paper here and PET paper here.

SAMPEX Investigators and Institutions

University of Maryland

California Institute of Technology

Max-Plank-Institute fur Extraterrestrische Physik

Goddard Space Flight Center

University of Colorado

Aerospace Corporation


Among the more interesting studies carried out by SAMPEX are of a newly-discovered belt composed of trapped heavy nuclei that originate from the interstellar medium (for more information see Geophysical Research Letters 20, 2003, 1993, EOS 75, No.6, p.185, 1994 and JGR 100,9503, 1995). An image can be found here RadBelt Image

Here is a list of publications from the MAST and PET instrument data.