First Results from a New Rigid Falling Sphere Probe to Measure Winds, Density, and Temperature in the Mesosphere and Lower Thermosphere 

Thursday, 18 December 2014
Chad S Fish1, Miguel Folkmar Larsen2, Robert F Pfaff Jr3, Rees Fullmer4, Charles Swenson5, Ryan Martineau5, Wayne Sanderson6 and Marcin Pilinski1, (1)Atmospheric and Space Technology Research Associates LLC, Boulder, CO, United States, (2)Clemson University, Clemson, SC, United States, (3)NASA/GSFC, Greenbelt, MD, United States, (4)Utah State University, Mechanical and Aerospace, Logan, UT, United States, (5)Utah State University, Logan, UT, United States, (6)Space Dynamics Laboratory, North Logan, UT, United States
We outline the development, test, calibration, and results from the first flights of a new rigid falling sphere probe which were launched in the summers of 2011 and 2013 as part of the NASA Daytime Dynamo sounding rocket campaign at Wallops Island, Virginia. Using highly sensitive accelerometers in conjunction with GPS data, the new rigid falling sphere probe provides a new means to detect the neutral wind, density, and temperature measurements, primarily below approximately 130 km. Initial results will be shown and the accuracy of this technique will be assessed. The maturing of the falling sphere technique provides a possible complement to the well-established vapor trail technique.