230 LITES and GROUP-C mission update: ionospheric sensing from the ISS

Monday, 23 January 2017
4E (Washington State Convention Center )
Andrew W. Stephan, NRL, Washington, DC; and S. A. Budzien, S. Chakrabarti, S. P. Powell, S. C. Finn, T. A. Cook, B. O'Hanlon, and R. L. Bishop

The International Space Station (ISS) provides a uniquely persistent platform to conduct routine measurements of the space weather environment, and in particular of the lower ionosphere. Two new ionospheric sensing experiments are scheduled to arrive at the ISS in late 2016 as part of the Space Test Program – Houston 5 (STP-H5) payload.  The Limb-imaging Ionospheric and Thermospheric Extreme-ultraviolet Spectrograph (LITES) is an imaging spectrograph that spans 60–140 nm and will obtain limb profiles of O+ in the ionosphere, along with the key upper atmospheric constituents O and N2. The GPS Radio Occultation and Ultraviolet Photometer Co-located (GROUP-C) experiment pairs a high-sensitivity, nadir-viewing photometer that measures the nighttime ionospheric airglow at 135.6 nm, and a GPS receiver that measures ionospheric electron content and scintillation.

The goal of these two experiments is to provide technical development and risk-reduction for future DoD space weather sensors suitable for ionospheric specification, space situational awareness, and data products for global ionosphere assimilative models. These observations will be complemented and validated by ground-based data from an international network of digisondes, visible spectrographs, and imagers, which will provide ground truth and enable the potential for campaign-style measurements of the ionosphere-thermosphere system.  

We will present an update on the status and performance of these new ionospheric space weather sensors.

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