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 January 23, 2015

News: Two Marines identified in deadly California helo crash - Two Marine Corps officers killed when their helicopter crashed during a training exercise in the Southern California desert were remembered Jan. 25 as talented pilots. Greek F-16 crashes in Spain during NATO exercise - Ten people died Jan. 26 after a Greek air force F-16 jet crashed...
 
 

News Briefs January 26, 2015

Navy wants to increase use of sonar-emitting buoys The U.S. Navy is seeking permits to expand sonar and other training exercises off the Pacific Coast, a proposal raising concerns from animal advocates who say that more sonar-emitting buoys would harm whales. The Navy now wants to deploy up to 720 sonobuoys about 12 miles off...
 
 
Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards

ANG conducts air refueling training with NATO allies in Germany

Air National Guard photograph by SSgt. Annie Edwards A NATO E-3A AWACS aircraft approaches a Utah Air National Guard KC-135R Stratotanker for air refueling during a training flight over Germany on Jan. 13, 2015. Nearly 30 airme...
 

 
Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales

Ramstein Airmen train with French air force

Air Force photograph by SrA. Armando A. Schwier-Morales Two U.S. Air Force pilots and a French air force navigator discuss the route to the drop zone during a simulated low-level drop Jan. 21, 2015, at Orleans – Bricy Air...
 
 

Marines receive first F-35C Lightning II carrier variant

The first F-35C Lightning II, carrier variant, for the U.S. Marine Corps touched-down on the flight line at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., Jan. 13, from the Lockheed Martin plant in Fort Worth, Texas, to begin training in support of carrier-based operations. U.S. Marine Lt. Col. J.T. Ryan, Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 501 detachment commander...
 
 

VA announces single regional framework under MyVA initiative

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced Jan. 26 that it is taking the first steps under the MyVA initiative to realign its many organizational maps into one map with five regions to better serve Veterans. The new regions under the MyVA alignment will allow VA to begin the process of integrating disparate organizational boundaries into...
 




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>