Ionospheric exploration with NorSat-l

About the project

In July 2017 the first Norwegian scientific satellite, NorSat—l, will be launched into a polar low-Earth orbit. On board NorSat-l is the multi-needle Langmuir probe, an instrument that measures the electron density with 800 Hz, achieving an unprecedented spatial resolution between measurements of less than 10 meters in the ionosphere. We will take this unique opportunity to study the cross-scale coupling between energy input due to large-scale dynamics and electron density fluctuations on the scale of the ion gyroradius by combing the NorSat-l data with measurements from a wide range of complementary instruments. At high latitudes, we will study the NorSat—l data in connection with observations of the Birkeland current system, of ionospheric plasma flow and temperature, and of particle precipitation. At low latitudes we will combine NorSat-l data With measurements from ionosondes and the J icamarca radar. Since scintillations of trans-ionospheric radio waves are ultimately caused by small—scale electron density variations, we will not only establish an understanding how energy input at large spatial scales structures the ionosphere at the smallest scale, but also enable the effective forecast of ionospheric scintillations.


Primary Objective
- identify and quantify the mechanisms that cause small-scale ionospheric plasma density structures

Secondary Objectives
- map the global spatial characteristics of meter-scale plasma structures in the ionosphere and their dependence on large-scale ionospheric drivers
- provide physical understanding of ionospheric structuring mechanisms as the foundation for scintillation forecasts
- understand spacecraft/ionosphere interaction and its impact on in situ plasma density measurements


The Research Council of Norway

Published Aug. 14, 2018 10:34 AM - Last modified Aug. 14, 2018 10:34 AM