Date of Award

Spring 2024

Access Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Engineering Physics


Physical Sciences

Committee Chair

Aroh Barjatya

Committee Advisor

Aroh Barjatya

First Committee Member

Robert Clayton

Second Committee Member

Bereket Berhane

College Dean

Peter Hoffmann


Low-cost and low-size-weight-and-power (SWaP) magnetometers can provide greater accessibility for distributed simultaneous measurements in the ionosphere, either onboard sounding rockets or on CubeSats. The Space and Atmospheric Instrumentation Laboratory (SAIL) at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University has launched a multitude of sounding rockets in recent history: one night-time mid-latitude rocket from Wallops Flight Facility in August 2022 and three mid-latitude rockets from White Sands Missile Range during the October 2023 annular solar eclipse. All rockets had a comprehensive suite of instruments for electrodynamics and neutral dynamics measurements. Among this suite was one science-grade three-axis fluxgate magnetometer (Billingsley TFM65VQS / TFM100G2) and up to six commercial-off-the-shelf magnetometers (PNI RM3100) distributed between the main payload and up to four ejectable subpayloads per rocket. These low-cost and low SWaP magnetometers can achieve a resolution of approximately 1 nT and a precision of +/-4 nT (one sigma) at 15 Hz in the absence of environmental noise. This performance is sufficient for measuring currents that flow in the E-region ionosphere. This thesis will cover the magnetometer calibration process used for these sounding rocket missions, the calibration results, and some analysis of the flight data. For the first time, distributed multi-point and temporally-spaced in-situ magnetometer measurements have been recorded during a solar eclipse, providing the first chance to observe the time-dependent effect of the eclipse shadow on the local vertical structure of the solar quiet (Sq) current.