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Ionospheric Connection Explorer

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Title: Ionospheric Connection Explorer  
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Subject: Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk, 2017 in spaceflight, Launch Services Program
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Ionospheric Connection Explorer

The Ionospheric Connection Explorer
The ICON observational geometry, showing both in situ and remote sensing of the ionosphere-thermosphere system
Credit: ICON team
Operator NASA
Mission type Earth observatory
Launch date 2017[1]
Launch vehicle Pegasus XL
Mission duration 2 years
Orbits Low Earth orbit
Homepage http://icon.ssl.berkeley.edu

The Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) is a planned science mission for NASA's Explorer program, designed to study the connection between the Earth’s weather and space weather. Led by the University of California, Berkeley,[2] ICON will provide NASA’s Heliophysics Division with a new capability to observe the connection between the Earth’s thermosphere and ionosphere.[3] ICON was one of 11 proposals selected for NASA funding in September 2011, down from the original 22 submitted in February of that year.[4] On April 12, 2013, NASA announced that ICON, along with Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk (GOLD), had been selected for launch in 2017.[1] The principal investigator of ICON is Thomas Immel of the University of California, Berkeley.[1]

Mission concept

Once launched, ICON will perform a two-year mission to observe conditions in both the thermosphere and ionosphere.[1] ICON will be equipped with four instruments: a Michelson interferometer, built by the United States Naval Research Laboratory, will measure the winds in the thermosphere; an ion drift meter, to be built by UT Dallas, will measure the motion of charged particles in the ionosphere; and two Ultraviolet imagers will observe the airglow layers in the upper atmosphere in order to determine both ionospheric and thermospheric density and composition.

References

  1. ^ a b c d "NASA Selects Explorer Investigations for Formulation".  
  2. ^ "UC Berkeley selected to build NASA’s next space weather satellite".  
  3. ^ "The Ionospheric Connection Explorer". ICON, Space Sciences Laboratory, University of California Berkeley. Retrieved 15 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "NASA Selects Science Investigations For Concept Studies" (Press release). NASA. 29 September 2011. Retrieved 7 April 2013. 

External links

  • NASA Explorer program website
  • University of California Berkeley ICON Explorer website
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