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The University of Iowa

Dr. Craig Kletzing


Twin Rocket Investigation of Cusp Electrodynamics

On December 10, 2007, we launched a pair of almost identically instrumented scientific payloads from the Andoya Rocket Range into the Earth's cusp regions, during a period when optical and radar data indicated that ionspheric signatures of reconnection were present. The two rockets were designed to fly along very similar ground tracks, but one was to fly to an apogee of approximately 500 km and the other was to fly to an apogee of >1200 km. By launching the low flying rocket 3-4 minutes after the high flying rocket, we acheived a variety of separations across magnetic field lines between payloads in both the north-south and east-west directions. The payloads also crossed the same latitudes at different times. The scientific goals were aimed at distinguishing between signatures of pulsed reconnection versus those of steady reconnection, as well as investigating ionospheric cusp electrodynamics. By examining the evolution of stepped cusp ion dispersion along nearly identical field lines at a variety of different times, we will determine if the stepped forms have moved due to convection a predicted bi pulsed reconnection models or if the steps are fixed in latitude as predicted by steady reconnection models. The comprehensive suite of measurements will allow a detailed study of the temporal physics of current closure, incident Poynting flux, Alfven wave occurence, and high frequency waves. These measurements will be compared with simultaneous ground-based measurements from radar and imaging detectors to place them in the broader ionospheric context. The pair of rockets have provided a wealth of new information on cusp ionospheric physics. This data will answer questions about the character of magnetopause reconnection and cusp electrodynamics.


Click on the links below for more information about the TRICE mission.

-------- Original Message --------
Subject:TRICE Launched!
Date:Mon, 10 Dec 2007 04:05:35 -0600
From:Craig Kletzing <>
Organization:University of Iowa

Hi everyone,

The TRICE rockets launched today at 0900:00 UT and 0902:00 UT. We had excellent science conditions for measurements in the Earth's cusp with a southward turning of the IMF a few minutes before launch that appears to have then turned northward for the last piece of the flight. Both payload appear to have worked well and both trajectories were within about 2 sigma of expected performance. We have good data from the CUTLASS radar, all-sky cameras in Ny Alesudn, and EISCAT. I am quite pleased with what we have launched into and am looking forward to a fruitful scientific return!