4.1 A new Life for the High frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP)

Tuesday, 12 January 2016: 8:30 AM
Room 352 ( New Orleans Ernest N. Morial Convention Center)
Robert P. McCoy, Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks, AK

In 2014 the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), having decided that they no longer needed the HAARP facility, made plans to demolish it – in compliance with previous agreements. In response to a letter writing campaign from the scientific community and a request from Alaskan U. S. Senator Lisa Murkowski, the Secretary of the Air Force shelved plans to remediate the facility to allow time to develop a way forward to sustain the facility. HAARP, located in Gakona Alaska is the world's premier facility for active experimentation commonly referred to as “an ionospheric heating.” The ionosphere can strongly affect systems including: communication; navigation; radar; and anything depending on, or affected by, radio propagation through this region. The primary component of HAARP, the Ionospheric Research Instrument (IRI), is a phased array of 180 HF antennas spread across 33 acres and capable of radiating 3.6 MW into the upper atmosphere and ionosphere. The array is fed by five 2500 kW generators, each driven by a 3600 hp diesel engine (4 + 1 spare). Transmit frequencies are selectable in the range 2.8 to 10 MHz and complex configurations of rapidly slewed single or multiple beams are possible. This year AFRL signed a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) and an Educational Partnership Agreement (EPA) transferring the facility to the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) for continued active ionospheric experimentation using a pay-per-use model. In their 2013 “Decadal Survey in Solar and Space Physics” the National Research Council (NRC) made the recommendation to “Fully realize the potential of ionospheric modification…” and in their 2013 Workshop Report: “Opportunities for High-Power, High-Frequency Transmitters to Advance Ionospheric/Thermospheric Research” the NRC outlined the broad range of future ionospheric, thermospheric and magnetospheric experiments that could be performed with HAARP. The HAARP facility contains a variety of optical and RF ionospheric instruments to measure the effects of the overhead heater perturbations. The UAF will manage the heater facility and encourage the scientific community to plan and execute heater investigations at HAARP. The power and flexibility of HAARP and its ideal location in the subarctic will help secure the future of this facility as the foremost laboratory for active experimentation in the ionosphere and upper atmosphere.
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