GCI M/LT related info from the combined EISCAT Symposium and LPMR Workshop – Aug. 14-19 2022

20th International EISCAT Symposium and 15th International Workshop on Layered Phenomena in the Mesopause Region (LPMR) has just finished at Sundbyholm Castle in Sweden.

During those five days several projects related to GCI M/LT was discussed, and new related projects came up. Several talks were also GCI M/LT related:

  • Blix et al. (invited), The Grand Challenge Initiative – CUSP and M/LT projects status and future plans
  • Lehmacher et al., VortEx: A ground-based and rocket experiment to study mesoscale dynamics in the MLT for February 2023
  • Mann et al., Investigating mesospheric dust with the MXD2 rocket campaign

In addition, we also learnt about a new sounding rocket project in our GCI – DEFINE: Density Field in the MLT: Neutrals, Electrons, and trace gases. Radiative and dynamical balance (Strelnikov & al)

Brief description:
The aim of this project is to investigate the density field of the mesosphere and lower thermosphere (MLT,
Mesosphere / Lower Thermosphere) by means of high-precision in-situ measurements. Furthermore, the concentration of neutral gas, electrons, ions and atomic oxygen in the lower thermosphere is to be measured with high precision for the first time. Simultaneous measurements of densities and temperature will significantly improve our understanding of energy balance and composition in this region. Combination of these measurements with observation of Airglow allows quantification of the radiation and chemical contributions to the energy budget. Since the density field reflects all the imprints of dynamics of the atmosphere, precise measurement of small-scale density fluctuations enables a detailed study of waves and their dissipation. This in turn allows the dynamic state of the MLT to be accurately described.

2 rockets are to be launched simultaneously in the spring of 2025: one from the Andøya Space and the other from the ESRANGE – the ORIGIN project from MISU (Gumbel & al).

If all goes well this will be the first time ever that two rockets have been launched from Andøya and ESRANGE simultaneously.

Data sharing:
One of the main activities in the GCI CUSP project was related to sharing data from rockets and ground based measurements. This is still an ongoing process, but in any case, the intention is that eventually all meta data from rockets and ground-based instruments will be entered into the SIOS database on Svalbard, in line with the intentions of the agreement signed by NASA, JAXA, UiO and SIOS in Tokyo in 2016. The original scientific data is meant to be stored at each individual institution.

One of the conclusions from a dedicted sounding rocket meeting during the LMPR workshop last week was to start looking the possibility for similar data sharing in the M/LT program too. Maybe we can continue to use the SIOS base also through the M/LT. This will be brought up with SIOS shortly.

GHOST student rocket:
The GCI M/LT student rocket project is still being developed by NASA and Andøya Space. What needs to be determined first is who will be the Principal Investigator (PI). If this rocket project will be conducted outside the RockSat-X (the GCI CUSP student rocket – G-CHASER (2017-2019), was run through this well established US student rocket program) we need to look into how the invitation/submission/selection processes are to be carried out.

Hopefully, the invitations can be issued later this autumn. These will go to members of the GCI M/LT consortium having contributed to the white paper, and to the members of the EASP agreement (Norway, Sweden, Germany, France and Switzerland).

The intention is still to have the launch during the November 2024 NASA RENU-3 (PI Mark Lessard from Uni of New Hampshire) campaign. More about this in the weeks to come, so keep an eye on the GCI web.

Current status GCI M/LT projects:

  • SpEED Demon*, a tech demo mission for SEED (Barjatya/Embry-Riddle) (launch week 34 2022)
  • SEED* (Sporadic E Electrodynamics) (Barjatya/Embry-Riddle): −from Kwajalein Atoll ~2024 −PI Aroh Barjatya has more info at sail.erau.edu/seed
  • XENON (Isotopic consentration of Xenon −Launched from Esrange in August 2021.
  • PMWE 3 & 4 (IAP, DLR Moraba) −Incl 2 Vipers after the main rockets (same day) −Launched from Andøya Space, Oct 1st 2021
  • VortEx* (Lehmacher) −March 2023, 4 rockets from Andøya Space
    • 2 rockets launched March 22nd 2023
    • 2 rockets to be launched October 2024
  • ICI-5b* (4DSpace/DAEDALUS) (Miloch/UiO/Norway) (winter 2024 from Andøya Space)
  • MaxiDusty-2* (Mann/UiT/Norway) (summer 2025 from Andøya Space)
  • ORIGIN* (Gumbel/MISU/Sweden) – launch spring 2025 from ESRANGE (same time as DEFINE)
  • DEFINE* (Strelnikov/IAP/Germany) – launch spring 2025 from Andøya Space (same time as ORIGIN)
    ALOMAR Observatory measurements during ORIGIN & DEFINE
  • Turb3D (Strelnikov/Lubken/IAP/Germany)
  • SYSTER (IRF, Sweden) & BROR* (2023) (Ivchencko/KTH/Sweden)
  • ROMARA (Stude/DLR/Germany)
  • ISAS/JAXA (Abe)
  • B-SoLiTARe* “Balloon Sodium Lidar to measure Tides in the Antarctic Region” (Janches, GSFC/NASA)
  • GHOST* (Grand Challenge Mesosphere Student Rocket) (TBD) (NASA/Andøya Space)
  • To be proposed (Conde & al/U Fairbanks/Alaska) – project in the works. More info to come.

*= funded or partly funded
striked through = launched

Andøya Space, Sept. 24., 2023
Kolbjørn Blix