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Ionosphere mitigation through species characterization and stratification

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Monday, 24 January 2011
Ionosphere mitigation through species characterization and stratification
Christopher T. Rodgers, ITT Industries, Herndon, VA; and O. E. Kia
Manuscript (425.0 kB)

Total Electron Count (TEC), the main component in characterization of the Ionosphere, is not everything and does not completely describe the contents or the dynamics of the Ionosphere. Current understanding of the Ionosphere is based on reflection of Radio Frequency energy. The amount of return is highly dependent on the TEC and as such is used to describe its status for uses in satellite communication or GPS beacon performance. However, TEC based measurements are highly limiting in not only mapping out the full Ionosphere layer but can also exhibit shadowing when returns from different layers of the Ionosphere are not received.

For a full understanding of the dynamics of the Ionosphere it is preferable to consider the whole gamut of contributors. Contributors such as Ionospheric composition and dynamics requires determination of factors beyond TEC such as atomic and molecular species concentration, Ion-based contributions and how they interact and correlate with the radiation belts, and even solar events. Atomic and molecular species concentration requires a study of specific abundance measurements in each layer as a function of altitude and geographical distribution. Similarly, ion-based contributions require a study of concentrations associated with relevant species as a function of altitude and geographical distribution. We study the available concentration of these contributors to further understand their interactions within the Ionosphere. The desired outcome of this study is to drive the field to generate a new set of requirements to attain better space situational awareness and understanding.