Space

April 15, 2013

NASA selects Explorer projects to probe Earth’s upper atmosphere

NASA has selected a new satellite mission and a new space-based instrument to begin development as part of the agency’s Heliophysics Explorer Program.

The projects will provide space observations to study Earth’s ionosphere and thermosphere.

The Ionospheric Connection (ICON) mission, led by Thomas Immel of the University of California, Berkeley, will probe the extreme variability of Earth’s ionosphere with in-situ and remote-sensing instruments. Fluctuations in the ionosphere interfere with signals from communications and global positioning satellites, which can have an economic impact on the nation.

The Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD) mission of opportunity, led by Richard Eastes of the University of Central Florida in Orlando, is an imaging instrument that will fly on a commercial communications satellite in geostationary orbit to image the Earth’s thermosphere and ionosphere.

“One of the frontier areas of heliophysics is the study of the interface between outer space and the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere,” said John Grunsfeld, NASA associate administrator for science at NASA Headquarters, Washington. “These selected projects use innovative solutions to advance our knowledge of this relatively unexplored region. The two missions together will result in significantly more advances in our understanding of Earth’s atmosphere and ionosphere than either would alone.”

These two Explorer projects were selected from proposals submitted in response to the NASA Explorer announcement of opportunity in 2010. The proposals were judged to offer the best science value and feasible development plans among the six concept studies submitted to NASA in September 2012.

Costs for NASA Explorer missions, such as ICON, are capped at $200 million each (fiscal year 2011 dollars), excluding the launch vehicle. Explorer missions of opportunity, such as GOLD, are capped at $55 million each. The new missions are expected to launch in 2017.

The Explorer program is the agency’s oldest continuous program. It is designed to provide frequent, low-cost access to space for principal investigator-led space science investigations relevant to the heliophysics and astrophysics programs in NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

The Explorer program has launched more than 90 missions since 1958, including Explorer 1 which discovered the Earth’s radiation belts and the Nobel Prize-enabling mission Cosmic Background Explorer (COBE) mission. The program is managed by NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center for the Science Mission Directorate.

 




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 

Headlines November 21, 2014

News: Dempsey lays groundwork for larger 2016 defense budget - The top U.S. military official on Wednesday made the case for growing the base defense budget significantly over the $535 billion spending cap imposed by Congress for fiscal 2015.   Business: Boeing can bill $61 million that Pentagon withheld for months - The Pentagon withheld $60.5 million...
 
 

News Briefs November 21, 2014

Obama aide: U.S. should look at Ukraine military aid A senior aide of President Barack Obama says he believes the U.S. should consider giving Ukraine lethal, defensive military assistance to get Russia to think twice about its destabilizing behavior. Tony Blinken, the deputy national security adviser, cites serious violations by Russia of agreements not to...
 
 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Divine Cox

Kunsan AB hosts Exercise Max Thunder 14-2

Air Force photograph by SrA. Divine Cox A South Korean air force F-15 Strike Eagle lands Nov. 17, 2014, during Max Thunder 14-2 at Kunsan Air Base, South Korea. U.S. Air Force, Army, Marine Corps and Navy personnel and aircraft...
 

 
LM-facility

Lockheed Martin opens Surface Navy Innovation Center

Lockheed Martin has opened the Surface Navy Innovation Center in Moorestown, N.J., to support the development of new technologies for the U.S. Navy. The SNIC is a research, development and demonstration facility that brings tog...
 
 
raytheon-test

Raytheon successfully demonstrates integrated electronic warfare capabilities

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. – Raytheon, in collaboration with the U.S. Navy, successfully demonstrated an end to end, first of its kind, integrated electronic attack system during flight tests at the Naval Air Weapons Station Chi...
 
 

Three bases identified as F-16 aggressor candidate bases

U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Joseph Swafford Jr. A U.S. Air Force F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron lands at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Oct. 6 during RED FLAG-Alaska 15-1. RF-A is a series of Pacific Air Forces commander-directed field training exercises for U.S. and partner nation...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>