The CREX-2 sounding rocket mission was successfully launched from Andøya Space December 1st, 2021.
NASA’s Cusp Region Experiment-2, also known as CREX-2, is the final research rocket to launch in the international project Grand Challenge Initiative Project Cusp.
– The project consisted of 12 rockets from three nations, says Kolbjørn Blix, Director of Sounding rockets at Andøya Space. – USA, Norway, and Japan. The Japanese mission successfully launched about a month ago from our launch facilities at Svalbard.
The main objective of the project is to investigate the polar cusp region, a region formed by Earth’s magnetic field.
– The magnetic field forms a kind of a funnel stretching from our atmosphere down towards Earth’s core, and inside this funnel the air is noticeable denser than elsewhere, says Kolbjørn. – This affects polar orbiting satellites, as they hit a kind of speed bump when they pass through this area.
The participants in the Grand Challenge-project share all their research data with each other, making it possible to achieve greater insight into this highly interesting cusp region.
CREX-2 is led by Professor Mark Conde from the University of Alaska Fairbanks, and the vehicle was built at NASA Wallops.
– The rocket carried 20 canisters of vapor tracers which was released into the atmosphere, says Kolbjørn. – Each of these canisters created a small cloud which was then observed by two ground stations at Svalbard and by an airplane flying out from Iceland.
– The movement of these tiny clouds observed from multiple angles will help scientists understand more about the physics in the cusp area, says Kolbjørn.
The sounding rocket was launched from Andøya on December 1st, at 0925 UTC, and reached an apogee at about 634 kilometers.
– The flight was nominal, and they launched into perfect scientific conditions, says Kolbjørn. – The scientists are very, very happy today.
The Japanese research rocket SS-520-3 was launched from Ny-Ålesund November 4th, 2021, to investigate the cusp region as a part of the Grand Challenge Initiative Project Cusp.
The cusp region is a funnel created by Earth’s magnetic field, and the region is the focus of a project spanning several research teams with twelve sounding rockets. The Grand Challenge Initiative Project Cusp is designed to advance the common understanding of the space physics in the cusp region.
The Japanese rocket’s specific purpose was to investigate the microscopic mechanism of the ion acceleration/heating in the cusp region by carrying out high time resolution in-situ measurements of the plasma particles and plasma waves.
The two-stage sounding rocket had a nominal, suborbital flight and was able to successfully make in-situ measurements of the cusp region. Telemetry antennas at Ny-Ålesund, Longyearbyen and Andøya participated in the mission.
The rocket reached an apogee of about 750 km.
Principal investigator for this mission was Professor Yoshifumi Saito from JAXA.
From Peter Dalin, at Institutet för rymdfysik (IRF) we have just been notified that they have successfully launched XENON French balloon (Europian balloon infrastructure project HEMERA and CNES balloon campaign KLIMAT 2021) to 32.6 km altitude on the night 16-17 August 2021. Two images of NLC as seen from the stratosphere from 32.6 km altitude are shown below.
The preliminary results are as follows:
All three NLC cameras and electronics were completely operational in the stratosphere for more than 10 hours at temperatures minus 30-32 degrees.
Two wide angle cameras registered NLC in the twilight sky sector from north-west to north-east. NLC were of a moderate brightness and were located at high latitudes to the north of Esrange.
The NLC instrument has survived and has no damages after the landing of the gondola.
From the ground support side:
NLC camera located at IRF (Kiruna) has registered the same NLC as seen from the balloon.
EISCAT (Tromsö) and MAARSY (Andoya) radars have registered PMSE in about the same mesopause volume with NLC seen from the balloon.
Lidar at Esrange was successfully operational during the whole night but registered no NLC above Esrange.
To summarize, it was a very successful balloon-borne experiment!
The next balloon launch with the NLC instrument is planned in August 2022.
Meeting started 1800 CET and lasted until 20:10 CET. We had roughly 80 participants and 14 talks from 7 of the 9 participating countries. An initial technical issue with Zoom caused a 10 minute delay and new Zoom-links to be distributed, but overall it went as planned.
As we hoped, we received updates on already planned (and some funded) projects, new initiatives and requests/offers for cooperation. Based on this, as well as our experiences during the run-up to the GCI CUSP, we found that it was time to start planning a physical meeting as the next step in the process around GCI M/LT. This will therefore be sought to be resolved through a dedicated session during this year’s AGU Fall Meeting. A session proposal for AGU FM was submitted within the deadline.
A few weeks ago we sent out a reminder for the upcoming GCI M/LT CEDAR workshop, June 22, 2021, 1000-1200 MST (1800-2000 CET). Back then we informed you that we’d send out a Zoom-link in due time before the workshop, but things have changed the recent days. The access to our workshop, a part of CEDAR 2021, will be handled by CEDAR. This due to the fact that all participants have to agree to the code of conduct which is a requirement by the CEDAR sponsor.
1800-1805:Kolbjørn Blix (Andøya Space, Norway)| Agenda Information 1805-1810: CHAIR: Doug Rowland (NASA Goddard, USA) | Updated GCI CUSP status, M/LT plans 1810-1815:Gerald Lehmacher (Clemson Uni., USA) | VortEx, Andøya, February 2023 – update for new launch window 1815-1823:Boris Strelnikov (Leibniz-Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Germany) | Sounding rocket project PMWE 1823-1831:Jörg Gumbel (Stockholm University, Sweden) | Swedish Airglow Studies Related to GCI M/LT 1831-1839:Diego Janches (NASA/GSFC, USA) | Update: Balloon Sodium Lidar to measure Tides in the Antarctic Region (B-SoLiTARe) 1839-1847:Andres Spicher (U of Tromsø, Norway) | Activity and future plans for studies of dust in the mesosphere at Dep. Physics and Technology, UIT 1847-1855:Kathrin Schoppmann (DLR MORABA, Germany) | MORABA sounding rocket sensor platform for atmospheric research 1855-1903:Gerd Baumgarten (Leibniz-Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Germany) | Fingerprints of turbulence in noctilucent clouds 1903-1911:William Ward (University of New Brunswick, Canada) | Waves and airglow: Coupling across the MLT 1911-1919:Nickolay Ivchenko (KTH, Sweden) | Update on the SYSTER sounding rocket project 1919-1927:Tomasz Noga (Lukasiewicz Research Network – Institute of Aviation) | Polish contribution to GCI-M/LT 1927-1935:Martina Faenza (Nammo Raufoss AS, Norway) | Prelim. title: Nucleus, Norwegian sounding rocket for mesosphere research 1935-1943:Hein Olthof (T-Minus Engineering B.V., Holland) | Update on T-Minus DART rocket and successor: DART-XL 1945-2000: Discussions/Conlusions 2000 (ish): Finish
Due to the recent announcement by the AGU Fall Meeting organizers that this years conference will be a hybrid event with both physical and virtual attendance, and many of us will be vaccinated before the summer, we have decided to propose such a hybrid GCI M/LT session. We hope that many of you will have the opportunity to meet physically, and that in this way we can give our common project a necessary injection of energy and increase progress. As mentioned earlier, the pandemic has made it much more difficult to organize the sequel to the successful GCI CUSP project, since meeting physically several times a year (normally CEDAR and AGU FM) contributes to a sense of unity and common goals that one does not achieve as well through online meetings.
The session proposal is already made, and can be downloaded here:
Months are passing by as we continue to meet mostly through keyboards and video cameras. This is not exactly an ideal situation for creating new projects, but we have to deal with the cards we have on hand. In an attempt at just that, we have requested a new GCI M / LT session during this summer’s CEDAR conference, which will also be held electronically this year as well as 2020. The session we arranged during last year’s conference was very successful with around 100 participants via Zoom . At that time, more than 30 lectures were given on possible projects as part of GCI M / LT from 2022, and around 10 of these were rocket projects. In the meantime, COVID-19 has done its part to ensure that 2022 has slipped backwards and become 2023, and two of these rocket projects that were fully or partially funded have thus been postponed for one year.
However, we want to use this extra time we have been “allocated” to help even more people hear about the project, and not least get an opportunity to tell us others about what exciting opportunities they see in a possible participation. We will also use the CEDAR session to update ourselves on the status of the projects presented last year. If we are really lucky, the meeting can also be used to agree on a physical meeting in 2022. Who knows…
Current status for proposed/funded GCI M/LT science projects planned for 2022 and later:
SEED (Sporadic E Electrodynamics) (Barjatya/Embry-Riddle): SEED is funded by NASA. Its launch has been postponed to Summer 2022. It continues to be manifested for a launch from Kwajalein Atoll. PI Aroh Barjatya has more info at sail.erau.edu/seed
SONC balloon-borne experiment (Stratospheric Observations of Noctilucent Clouds) (ESRANGE, Sweden): Postponed due to Covid until August 2021. Second flight from Esrange in August 2022.
VortEX (Lehmacher/Clemson/USA): Postponed until September 2022 or February 2023. NASA SRPO hasn’t made a final decision yet, but it will be either.
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:
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.
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: –
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
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 (http://cedarweb.vsp.ucar.edu/wiki/index.php/2020_Workshop:MainVG). 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! :
Name your talk like this: Firstname_Lastname.pptx or Firstname_Lastname.pdf
The upcoming GCI M/LT online workshop is a part of CEDAR 2020. You will find more info about this on the CEDAR 2020 web.
It might be necessary for all GCI M/LT workshop participants to register With the CEDAR 2020 in addition to the system we provided through the GCI web. However, we will come back With more info on this shortly.
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 https://www.grandchallenge.no/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/GCI-MLT-Whitepaper-realease-version-1.docx
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 https://www.grandchallenge.no/conference/ 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.
We have now submitted a Scientific Workshops proposal for the AGU Fall Meeting 2020. If all goes well, the proposal is accepted and the pandemic quites down later this year, we might meet in San Francisco for fruitful discussions in December.
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 (https://www.agu.org/Fall-Meeting). If this will happen or not, who knows, but we need plans for the future.
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.
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.
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.
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. 10:45–12:30 Meeting type: by invitation only
UPCOMING: GCI M/LT workshop during CEDAR 2020 Will take place June 23rd, 1:30 to 3:30 PM at Eldorado Hotel and Spa. The change form 5 to 7 PM is to avoid too much overlap with the poster session which runs from 4 – 7PM.
Agenda TBD, but potential M/LT participants are requested to give a short presentation (5 mins). Focus on the importance of data sharing through the SIOS database will be one topic.
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.
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