Grand Challenge Initiative Mesosphere / Lower Thermosphere online CEDAR 2020 workshop completed successfully

As a part of the “CEDAR Virtual Meeting 2020” the GCI M/LT workshop started 1700 CET and lasted until 20:10 CET. The Zoom counter showed steadily 100 participants, which was max allowed for our session in Zoom. We apologize to those who were denied access to the meeting due to the maximum limit of 100 participants for which the session was set up.

We had 24 planned talks, 1 was cancelled but will be posted online. A couple had technical issues, but overall it went as planned.

Lot’s of new ideas for science projects and cross country/Atlantic cooperations in M/LT research from 2022 as part of GCI. At this point of time 10 sounding rocket Projects are either funded, proposed or will be proposed for participation in GCI M/LT:

SEED (Sporadic E Electrodynamics) (Barjatya/Embry-Riddle)
VortEX (Lehmacher/Clemson/USA)
4DSpace/DAEDALUS (Miloch/UiO/Norway)
Turb3D (Strelnikov/Lubken/IAP/Germany)
MaxiDusty-2 (Mann/UiT/Norway)
ORIGIN (Gumbel/MISU/Sweden)
SYSTER & BROR (Ivchencko/KTH/Sweden)
ROMARA (Stude/DLR/Germany)
GHOST (Grand Challenge Mesosphere Student Rocket) (Blix & Koehler/ASC/COSGC)

The list of planned ground based and ballon science projects/campaigns will be updated shortly.

At the end of the meeting, a GCI M / LT coordination group was set up consisting of representatives from all 9 GCI M/LT countries, plus dedicated coordinators for the program itself and for student rocket(s). This group becomes an important part of the job of operationalizing the project’s white paper and the good ideas presented thorugh the talks in this session.

To increase the chances for success , the GCI M/LT should start planning for a broad participation at the 25th ESA Symposium on European Rocket and Balloon Programmes and related Research which will take place on 6-10 June 2021 in Biarritz, France. This biannually scientific gathering is all about activities at Andøya Space Center (Norway) and ESRANGE Space Center (Sweden).

The session was recorded, and these recordings and some selected talks (those who had technical difficulties) will be made available shortly.

GCI M/LT Coordination Group:
Chair: Douglas Rowland (NASA Goddard, USA)
Program Coordinator: Kolbjørn Blix (ASC, Norway)
Student Rocket Coordinator: Chris Koehler (U of Colorado/COSGC)
Gerald Lehmacher (Clemson, USA)
Takumi Abe (ISAS/JAXA, Japan)
Wojciech Miloch (UiO, Norway)
Ingrid Mann (UiT, Norway)
William Ward, (New Brunswick, Canada)
Boris Strelnikov (IAP, Germany)
Jörg Gumbel (Stockholm University, Sweden)
John Plane (University of Leeds, UK)
Tomasz Noga (Lukasiewicz Research Network – Institute of Aviation, Poland)
Oleg Ugolnikov (Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences)

Download links:
Recording of the complete session:

Part 1 of the GCI M/LT online workshop in June 2020
Part 2 of the GCI M/LT online workshop in June 2020
Part 3 of the GCI M/LT online workshop in June 2020

Talks experiencing technical issues: (to come soon)
David Miles (University of Iowa) | Sounding Rocket Magnetometer Option

Oliver Drescher (DLR MORABA, Germany) | HAS – Development of a thrust controllable research platform to hover in the middle atmosphere

Vladimir Yushkov (Central Aerological Observatory, Russia) | Sounding Rocket in Russia

Joan Stude (German Aerospace Center / DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics) | Future plans on deploying our rocket mass spectrometer ROMARA

Complete list of talks:
1700-1705: Kolbjørn Blix (ASC, Norway)| Agenda Information

1705-1710: CHAIR: Doug Rowland (NASA Goddard, USA) | GCI intro – CUSP status, M/LT plans

1710-1715: Gerald Lehmacher (Clemson Uni., USA) | The Vorticity Experiment (VortEx) 2022: an update

1715-1720: Wojciech Miloch (U of Oslo, Norway) | Lower ionosphere – thermosphere and space weather activities at the University of Oslo, Norway

1720-1725: Boris Strelnikov (IAP, Germany) | Scientific questions for sounding rockets (by B. Strelnikov and F.-J. Lübken)

1725-1730: Henriette Trollvik (U of Tromsø, Norway) | Mesospheric Dust Studies Using Rocket Observations

1730-1735: Jörg Gumbel (Stockholm University, Sweden) | ORIGIN – a proposed rocket campaign connecting O, O2 and OH in the Earth\’s nightglow

1735-1740: William Ward (University of New Brunswick, Canada) | Untangling dynamics and transport in the mesopause region

1740-1745: Nickolay Ivchenko (KTH, Sweden) | \”SYSTER\” rocket project as part of ESA Daedalus Phase A campaign

1745-1750: David Miles (University of Iowa) | Sounding Rocket Magnetometer Options (Pre-recorded)

1750-1755: Yun-Hang Cho (University of Sheffield, UK) | Overview of the Sheffield Space Initiative and Opportunities with GCI M/LT

1755-1800: Richard Collins (University of Alaska Fairbanks, USA) | Wave Activity Forcing of E-Region (WAFER) Richard Collins for the WAFER team

1800-1805: Oliver Drescher (DLR MORABA, Germany) | HAS – Development of a thrust controllable research platform to hover in the middle atmosphere (Pre-recorded)

1805-1810: Vladimir Yushkov (Central Aerological Observatory, Russia) | Sounding Rocket in Russia (Pre-recorded)

1810-1815: Peter Dalin (Swedish Institute of Space Physics) | Stratospheric Observations of Noctilucent Clouds – SONC experiment

1815-1820: Joan Stude (German Aerospace Center / DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics) | Future plans on deploying our rocket mass spectrometer ROMARA

1820-1825: Diego Janches (NASA/GSFC, USA) | Balloon Sodium Lidar to measure Tides in the Antarctic Region (B-SoLiTARe)

1825-1830: Xiaoyan Zhou (University California, Los Angeles, USA) | The BALBOA Project: BALloon-Based Observations for Sunlit Aurora

1830-1835: Oleg Ugolnikov (Space Research Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences) | Noctilucent Clouds Size Estimation from All-Sky Monitoring: Color and Polarization Approaches (Pre-recorded)

1835-1840: John Plane (University of Leeds, UK) | Questions in mesospheric chemistry

1840-1845: Mattias Abrahamsson (SSC, Science Services Division, Sweden) | Esrange Space Center – a launch and measurement site for GCI M/LT

1845-1850: Liz MacDonald (NASA GSFC, USA) | Citizen Science and the Grand Challenges

1850-1855: Tomasz Noga (Lukasiewicz Research Network – Institute of Aviation) | Polish Contribution to GCI M/LT

1855-1900: Hein Olthof (T-Minus Engineering B.V., Holland) | Use of micro sounding rockets for supporting 4D atmospheric measurements

1900-1905: Martina Faenza (Nammo Raufoss AS, Norway) | Nucleus, Norwegian sounding rocket for mesosphere research

June 23rd online workshop – talk upload and connection info

The GCI M/LT online workshop is getting nearer by the day, and it’s time for you all to upload your talks to the CEDAR wiki page for our event.

Why is this necessary, you might wonder? Well, it’s caused by the fact that our workshop is a part of the CEDAR Virtual Meeting, June 22-26 2020 ( The workshop was originally planned, and accepted as a part of the “physical” CEDAR 2020 in Santa Fe, and we’d like to keep that connection.

What you all need to do June 19th THE LATEST! :

  1. Name your talk like this: Firstname_Lastname.pptx or Firstname_Lastname.pdf
  2. Point your browsers here
  3. Locate your own name in the list of talks
  4. Click it, and upload your short (~5 min) talk
  5. Note Zoom link and time to connect

So, no need to email us the presentation. Use the procedure above.

The list of talks might change if some “late bloomers” should arise  😊

Current program:

Looking forward to seeing you all soon.

Sign up for the Grand Challenge Initiative M/LT online workshop, June 23rd – 1700-1930 CET

Dear friends and colleagues.

Since CEDAR was canceled this year, it is important that we take steps to maintain the progress of GCI M/LT. One way to do this is to host an online workshop that ensures that we can handle much of what is lost by not being able to physically meet Santa Fe as planned. We therefore propose a Zoom-based replacement where each participant gives an online lecture, either directly (max 5 minutes) or in the form of a pre-recorded talk (could be more than 5 minutes). 5 minutes is a short time, but from experience we know that this is enough to present thoughts and ideas about planned or proposed projects that you want to implement in GCI M/LT based on white paper that was sent to you all in March 2020

According to the GCI M/LT white paper the project is planned to start in 2022 with the VortEx campaign. This gives us a perfect opportunity to plan complementary and new campaigns during and after VortEx. The white paper has entries from 9 nations on possible science topics, technologies, platforms, ground based observatories and potential research partners.

The Zoom session will take place June 23, 2020, 1500-1730 UT (1700-1930 CET) and will be chaired as a “regular” session.

To ensure the best possible scientific outcome and value for the funding institutions, we should use this workshop to do short (5 min) presentations (either live or pre-recorded) on proposed/planned experiments/campaigns and allow discussions/comments. In the end of the session the organizers will propose the formation of a GCI M/LT PI-coordination group, as well as time/place/type of follow-up meeting.

Please sign up for the workshop with your name, email, suggested title of your talk (due to the 2,5 hrs time slot we will have to limit the amount of talks) and whether you will prefer pre-recorded or not. Deadline for signing up will be June 12th 2020.

The Zoom-link will be sent out by email as we approach June 23rd. It will also be posted on the GCI web.

Latest info @

GCI M/LT white paper ready for use

The final version of the GCI M/LT white paper is ready for use. All 9 countries shown on the logo has now contributed to the content with research topics, supportive instrumentation and experiments they’ve planned to conduct as part of this grand challenge project. Now it’s all up to you. Please feel free to use the white paper as valuable background information for your funding applications in the month to come, and let’s know how it turns out in the end.

As we informed in March, there will be no CEDAR GCI M/LT workshop. However, we’ll start planning a miniaturized online version of what we where planning for the cancelled CEDAR workshop. So, what we should do before the summer:

  • Those of you who were thinking about giving a short talk during the cancelled CEDAR WS, should send us a title that can be entered into an online session.
  • It’s vital for the success of GCI M/LT that we form a group of PI’s coordinating the GCI M/LT science efforts in the months to come. Important issues here are:
    • Out of all the ideas and science topics in the white paper – what should we concentrate on trying to implement?
    • Who should do what with who, with what, from where and when? This is paramount for the planning that will be needed to be carried out by instrument makers, rocket planners/builders etc.

So, despite COVID-19 we can make this work. When it comes to physical meetings, we are aiming for a GCI M/LT session at AGU Fall Meeting 2020, 7-11 December ( If this will happen or not, who knows, but we need plans for the future.

GCI M/LT white paper is complete

Today the GCI M/LT white paper was finalized after receiving the latest post from the countries that have indicated their interest in participating in the project. It will be distributed through the email list shortly.

Kolbjørn Blix
GCI M/LT Coordinator

GCI M/LT workshop at CEDAR 2020 cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak

Based on this email from Astrid Maute in the CEDAR 2020 planning committee, we have to inform you that also this planned GCI M/LT meeting is cancelled too:

“Dear workshop proposers,I would like to inform you that the 2020 CEDAR workshop is cancelleddue to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alternative virtual options will be exploredfor a modified CEDAR meeting.
Please stay safe and healthy,Astrid on behalf of the CSSC

Astrid Maute”

Due to the current situation world wide, the GCI ML/T core group will start working on the possibility of having zoom/Teams talks/meetings laster this spring to ensure that we can continue to develop the GCI M/LT project, despite the COVID-19 setback. Information about this will be issued in due time. Good ideas are mostly welcome.

GCI M/LT status meeting at EGU cancelled

The EGU is officially announcing the cancellation of the physical EGU General Assembly 2020 in Vienna, Austria, and so the GCI M/LT status Meeting during EGU 2020 in Vienna, Austria – SMI32 is cancelled too.

Next chance to meet is:

GCI M/LT workshop during CEDAR 2020
Will take place June 23rd, 1:30 to 3:30 PM at Eldorado Hotel and Spa.

Agenda TBD, but potential M/LT participants are requested to give a short presentation (5 mins) about campaign plans (Rockets, satellites, Balloons, ground based etc). Focus on the importance of data sharing through the SIOS database will be one topic.

GCI M/LT status meeting @ EGU 2020 – room and time fixed

Updated Jan 30th
UPCOMING: GCI M/LT status Meeting during EGU 2020 in Vienna, Austria – SMI32
To reduce the need for travels for our European colleagues, we plan to arrange a GCI M/LT status meeting May 5th to allow us to update each other on the current status of the project development, plans and possible GCI M/LT related projects in Europe. Agenda TBD, but potential M/LT participants are requested to give a short presentation about their plans for participation (5-10 mins).

Room: 0.51 (28 person capacity) at the EGU conference centre.
Meeting type: by invitation only

The first GCI M/LT sounding Rockets – G. Lemacher, Clemson Univ. – “VortEx”

NASA has approved the sounding rocket experiment “VortEx” to be launched from Andoya Space Center in January/February 2022. The project is currently in the design phase. On two launch nights we plan to launch two rocket each, with instrumented and chemical release payloads, to study gravity wave breaking and mesoscale dynamics below and above the mesopause. Key region is 80 to 140 km. It is supported by ground-based airglow and temperature imaging, lidars and meteor radars. The novel techniques such as chemical release ejectable ampules, and multiple radar transmitters and receivers have the common goal to perform horizontally distributed observations of winds. This experiment is highly relevant for the Grand Challenge Initiative Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere (GC/MLT), since it addresses important science questions collected in the Grand Challenge white paper. It may be seen as initial start of the GCI/MLT and to field-test new rocket and ground based techniques that may find wider application in the following years. Principal Investigator is Gerald Lehmacher with Co-PIs from Clemson University, Embry-Riddle University, Utah State University and Institute for Atmospheric Physics. More information can be found in Lehmacher et al., Proc. 24th. Symp. Europ. Rocket and Balloon Progr., ESA SP-742, October 2019.

GCI M/LT way forward

  • 2020:
    • Jan: White paper finished
    • Week 8: Science workshop – Japan (TBD)
    • May: M/LT workshop – EGU in Vienna
      • Science topics and time lines (funding, campaigns) presented by each party
    • UPDATED 17.12 2019:
      June: M/LT workshop – CEDAR 2019
      • Info from European meeting
      • Science topics and time lines (funding, campaigns) presented by each party
      • Tentative scenarios discussions
      • GHOST (student rocket)
        • Funding, Consept (RockSat X?), Launch site & time
    • Tag-up during AGU Fall Meeting
  • 2021:
    • April: GCI M/LT tag-up during EGU
      • European (and US if present) funding status?
      • Time line updates
    • June: International GCI M/LT workshop during CEDAR 2021
      • Status:
        • Missions, Funding, Time lines
        • GHOST (student rocket)
        • Scenarios
    • Autumn: Operations workshop(s)
      • DLR Moraba/NASA Goddard SFC/ASC?
  • 2021-2023:
    • Payload and instruments prep
  • 2022-2026:
    • Launch & measurements campaigns

GCI CUSP & M/LT tag-up during AGU Fall Meeting

The GCI Cusp and M/LT core work group have scheduled a tag-up during AGU Fall Meeting.

Time and place: Moscone Posterhall south, Tuesday 10th from 2PM to 3 PM. Room number to be posted later.

GCI Cusp and M/LT talk at AGU Fall Meeting

GCI M/LT illustration by Trond Abrahamsen, Andøya Space Center

Kolbjørn Blix, Director of Space Systems at Andøya Space Center, and program coordinator of Grand Challenge Initiative CUSP and M/LT are presenting both projects (CUSP project status + M/LT plans):

Abstract ID: 486187
Abstract Title: Grand Challenge Initiative – CUSP and M/LT Projects
Final Paper Number: SM34A-01
Presentation Type: Oral
Session Date and Time: Wednesday, 11 December 2019; 16:00 – 18:00
Presentation Length: 16:00 – 16:15
Session Number and Title: SM34A: Earth’s Dynamic Cusps I
Location: Moscone South; 207, L2