The ICI series of sounding rockets
- A space weather mission
The launch of ICI 2 from Svalbard in December 2008. Photo: Martin Langteigen
The ionospheric cusp, seen by the naked eye as the daytime auroras over Svalbard, is a very complex region of the ionosphere. There are several cusp phenomena that individually or together may have important roles in plasma irregularity formation (flow channels, flow shears, electron beams, and polar cap patches).
In-situ sounding rocket measurements with high spatial resolution, is the most feasible approach to study the generation mechanisms of HF backscatter targets. With the ICI-series of rockets, we aim to describe the nature of the plasma structures under various conditions and to provide the plasma parameters needed to properly evaluate existing models for plasma instabilities.
The rocket data will also be used in analyzing and modelling the physics of plasma irregularities that lead to GNSS scintillations, of which aim is to improving GNSS integrity at polar latitudes under scintillating conditions. Because scintillations occur under a variety of physical conditions, and the physical processes leading to the formation and evolution of scintillation causing irregularities are still poorly understood, there is a need for a rocket program.