SMILE adopted by ESA SPC in March 2019

April 4, 2019, from Graziella Branduardi-Raymont

The Solar wind Magnetosphere Ionosphere Link Explorer, SMILE, has been given the green light for implementation by ESA’s Science Programme Committee. SMILE will explore the Sun-Earth connection in a very novel way, by mapping the solar wind – magnetosphere interactions in soft X-rays. SMILE is a joint mission by ESA and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The UK, several other European countries, Canada, China as well as ESA contribute to the development of the payload.

The SMILE payload comprises four instruments: a soft X-ray imager (SXI, PI S. Sembay, University of Leicester, UK), a UV auroral imager (UVI, PI E. Donovan, University of Calgary, Canada) and an in situ measurement package composed of a light ion analyser and a magnetometer (PIs L. Dai and L. Li, CAS/NSSC, China). SMILE will fly in a highly elliptical polar orbit with an apogee of 20 Re to image the magnetosphere and the northern aurora for more than 40 hours continuously per orbit. The launch is planned in November 2023.

For more information: , and

Graziella Branduardi-Raymont, C. Philippe Escoubet and Chi Wang