1.3 Ionospheric Remote Sensing Using GPS Radio Occultation and Ultraviolet Photometry Aboard the ISS

Monday, 8 January 2018: 9:15 AM
Salon J (Hilton) (Austin, Texas)
Scott A. Budzien, NRL, Washington, DC; and A. W. Stephan, C. Coker, S. P. Powell, B. O'Hanlon, T. E. Humphreys, R. L. Bishop, J. Gross, and S. Chakrabarti

The GPS Radio Occultation and Ultraviolet Photometer Co-located (GROUP-C) experiment launched to the International Space Station (ISS) on February 19, 2017 as part of the Space Test Program Houston #5 payload (STP-H5). After early orbit testing, GROUP-C began routine science operations in late April. GROUP-C includes a high-sensitivity far-ultraviolet photometer measuring horizontal nighttime ionospheric gradients and an advanced GPS receiver providing ionospheric electron density profiles, scintillation measurements, and lower atmosphere profiles. GROUP-C and a companion experiment, the Limb-Imaging Ionospheric and Thermospheric Extreme-Ultraviolet Spectrograph (LITES), offer a unique capability to study spatial and temporal variability of the thermosphere and ionosphere using multi-sensor approaches, including ionospheric tomography.

Data are collected continuously across low- and mid-latitudes as the ISS orbit precesses through all local times every 60 days. The GROUP-C GPS sensor routinely collects dual-frequency GPS occultations, makes targeted raw signal captures of GPS and Galileo occultations, and includes multiple antennas to characterize multipath in the ISS environment. The UV photometer measures the 135.6 nm ionospheric recombination airglow emission along the nightside orbital track. We present the first analysis of ionospheric observations, discuss the challenges and opportunities of remote sensing from the ISS platform, explore how these new data address questions regarding the complex and dynamic features of the low and middle latitude ionosphere-thermosphere, and describe the capabilities for real-time space environment monitoring for assimilative ionospheric models.

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