4.4 The NASA Ionospheric Connection Explorer: Observing the key drivers of variability in our space environment

Tuesday, 12 January 2016: 9:15 AM
Room 352 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Thomas J. Immel, University of California, Berkeley, Berkeley, CA; and S. England, S. Mende, O. Siegmund, H. U. Frey, D. E. Rowland, R. A. Heelis, R. Stoneback, C. R. Englert, E. Korpela, J. Edelstein, J. Huba, A. Stephan, J. M. Harlander, K. Marr, G. Crowley, A. Maute, J. M. Forbes, G. S. Bust, E. Talaat, J. Klenzing, F. Kamalabadi, B. Harding, J. Makela, B. Hubert, J. C. Gerard, A. Saito, C. E. Valladares, D. L. Hysell, S. Frey, M. Bester, and G. R. Swenson

Earth's space environment is highly variable, changing in ways that we are currently unable to predict. Specifically, the ionosphere exhibits remarkable day-to-day changes that cannot be attributed to any known source, though forcing originating in the lower atmosphere is now considered of key importance. NASA's Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON), a mission designed to discover the causes of this variability, is in development for a June 2017 launch. As part of the the mission, a science validation effort has tracked the expected performance of the observatory. With the delivery and test of the instruments of the science payload now nearly complete, the predicted performance of the science retrieval algorithms developed for ICON can be reported. The current performance models show that ICON will have outstanding scientific capability and so be able to address many key questions in space physics and aeronomy that pertain to space weather.
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