Cross Comparison of Electron Density and Electron Temperature Observations from the DICE CubeSat Langmuir Probes and the Millstone Hill Incoherent Scatter Radar.

Friday, 19 December 2014
Charles Swenson1, Philip John Erickson2, Geoffrey Crowley3, Marcin Pilinski4, Aroh Barjatya5 and Chad S Fish4, (1)Utah State University, Logan, UT, United States, (2)MIT Haystack Observatory, Westford, MA, United States, (3)ASTRA, Lafayette, CO, United States, (4)Atmospheric and Space Technology Research Associates LLC, Boulder, CO, United States, (5)Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, Physical Sciences Department, Daytona Beach, FL, United States
The Dynamic Ionosphere CubeSat Experiment (DICE) consists of two identical 1.5U CubeSats deployed simultaneously from a single P-POD (Poly Picosatellite Orbital Deployer) into the same orbit. Several observational campaigns were planned between the DICE CubeSats and the mid-latitude Millstone Hill Incoherent Scatter Radar (ISR) in order to calibrate the DICE measurements of electron density and electron temperature.

In this presentation, we compare in-situ observations from the Dynamic Ionosphere CubeSat Experiment (DICE) and from the Millstone Hill ISR. Both measurements are cross-calibrated against an assimilative model of the global ionospheric electron density. The electron density and electron temperature were obtained for three Millstone Hill DICE overflights (2013-03-12, 2013-03-15, 2013-03-17). We compare the data during quiet and geomagnetically disturbed conditions and find evidence of an storm enhanced density (SED) plume in the topside ionosphere on 2013-03-17 at 19? UTC. During this disturbed interval, American longitude sector high density plasma was convected near 15 SLT towards the noontime cusp.

DICE was selected for flight under the NSF "CubeSat-based Science Mission for Space Weather and Atmospheric Research" program. The DICE twin satellites were launched on a Delta II rocket on October 28, 2011. The satellites are flying in a “leader-follower” formation in an elliptical orbit which ranges from 820 to 400 km in altitude. Each satellite carries a fixed-bias DC Langmuir Probe (DCP) to measure in-situ ionospheric plasma densities and a science grade magnetometer to measure DC and AC geomagnetic fields. The purpose of these measurements was to permit accurate identification of storm-time features such as the SED bulge and plume. The mission team combines expertise from ASTRA, Utah State University/Space Dynamics Laboratory (USU/SDL), and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. In this paper we present a comparison of data from DICE and Millstone Hill ISR during quiet and magnetically disturbed conditions.