The Atmospheric Neutral Density Experiment mission results

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Tuesday, 19 January 2010: 11:30 AM
B303 (GWCC)
Andrew C. Nicholas, NRL, Washington, DC; and T. T. Finne, S. A. Budzien, and F. A. Herrero

The Atmospheric Neutral Density Experiment (ANDE) flight is a mission by the Naval Research Laboratory to monitor the thermospheric neutral density at an altitude of 350 km. The primary mission objective is to monitor total neutral density along the orbit for improved orbit determination of resident space objects, with a secondary objective to provide a test object for US Space Surveillance Network assets.

The mission consists of two spherical spacecraft fitted with retro-reflectors for satellite laser ranging (SLR). Each spacecraft contains a small light-weight payload designed to determine the spin rate and orientation of the spacecraft from on-orbit measurements and from ground based observations. Instrumentation onboard one of the ANDE2 spacecraft will measure the in-situ neutral and plasma densities.

This paper presents a mission overview and emphasis will be placed on the scientific results and comparison with solar and geomagnetic drivers as well as other neutral density measuring techniques (CubeSat, SSULI, etc…).