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Home > Rockets > Cascades-2 > Project Updates

CASCADES-2 - Project Updates

See also

The Cornell group's "picture of the day" page is located here.

25 March 2009

Here is a final update with the only photo of the launch that was taken.

Data Page


Photo by Robert Michell

20 March 2009

Successful LAUNCH! Click here for an initial (brief) update from the PI.

19 March 2009

Today is the unveiling of the great art project that Steve and his team of volunteers have been working on. The photo updates for tomorrow should be spectacular. Click here for an update from the PI.

18 March 2009

Another day of counting with not much new to report, as far as updates go. Click here for an update from the PI.


The aurora we could see far to the north last night.

17 March 2009

Happy St. Paddy's Day! Here's to hoping for a green launch! Click here for an update from the PI.

16 March 2009

Last night was the first night of the second window. Everything seems to be in working order, including the team, after a week of rejuvenation. Click here for an update from the PI.


Here is Kristina in the glass house in downtown Fairbanks.


The Outhouse Races, including the rocket-like outhouse that won the prize for Prettiest Outhouse, chosen by Meghan, official judge of prettiness at Chatanika Days '09.

4 March 2009

I just realized that I didn't have an update for yesterday. Here is Kristina's update from yesterday. Click here for the most recent update from the PI.

2 March 2009

Just two nights left. Last night was better than the past few, but the solar wind is still being difficult. Click here for an update from the PI.

1 March 2009

The solar wind refuses to cooperate with us, even though there are just three more nights left in this window. Click here for an update from the PI.


The rocket and sign at the front gate of PFRR. I keep hoping this will be the last day I see this.

28 February 2009

Sorry the website temporarily got a little messed up. I am re-doing this update but I don't even remember what happened this night. Probably we were out for winds. Click here for an update from the PI.


Kristina and Meghan at the Ice Sculpture World Championship.

27 February 2009

We had some really amazing aurora last night, but of course, we were out for winds the whole night. Click here for an update from the PI.


Erik and Meghan with aurora coming out of their heads?

26 February 2009

Sorry for the delay in getting the updates posted. I had some troubles logging in to the site, but things seem to be fixed today. Click here for an update from the PI.

25 February 2009

It was a very cloudy night, so even though our magnetometers were showing signs of activity, all three sites were completely blind. This did help us to see how PFISR is showing us the signatures we are looking for as well. Click here for an update from the PI.


This plot is showing the perpendicular velocity in the eastward direction. The red is a negative velocity (so westward direction) and the blue is positive. So you can see that at about 7:30 we started seeing strong westward flows, which pulled south with time. Then right at about 8:15 you see the breakup phase, where the flows spread back to the north. If you click on the plot you can see more vector velocity plots. Then, if you look at the MSP from Poker you can similarly see the aurora brighten and move south between 7 and 8, and then hit the breakup phase right around 8:15.

24 February 2009

Last night we were in for winds for most of the night, but were continually teased by ACE, which refused to give us a proper substorm. Click here for an update from the PI.


Before you can be a PI you must prove you can talk on at least two phones at one time.

23 February 2009

We are getting quite anxious for a launch, but the winds continue to frustrate us, which is apparent from the brevity of this update from the PI.


Team Toolik stays in good spirits, despite being out for winds three days in a row.


Nice CASCADES2 hats!

22 February 2009

Last night was another great night for aurora overhead, but we are still out for winds. Click here for an update from the PI.


Aurora over Poker Flat last night. Photo by Mike Nicolls.


A second photo by Mike.

21 February 2009

We have been having some interesting science conditions and also very good aurora considering we are in solar minimum, but so far conditions have not been right for launch. Click here for an update from the PI.


Here is a photo of the aurora that Hanna took last night.


A second photo of aurora over Toolik.

20 February 2009

Still no launch, but the future is looking bright! Click here for an update from the PI. Also, we have some photos from our field stations for your enjoyment.


The field station at Toolik Lake.


The field station at Kaktovik. Very luxurious...


Aligning the cameras in Toolik Lake to point toward Kaktovic is a little tricky with limited resources, but it is no challenge for Hanna and Tobbe.


Hans at work in the spacious Kaktovic field station.


Somehow they managed to get a helicopter ride!


Allison doesn't have helicopters around (or much of anything really), so she creates her own fun.


High wind gusts were blowing out windows at Toolik. Here is the solution.

19 February 2009

No new pictures for today, as nothing terribly exciting was going on last night. Kristina has a pretty informative update today with a lot of good links.

18 February 2009

Last night the Lehmacher mission launched, so there was a lot of excitement at the range. Click here for an update from the PI.


The first Lehmacher rocket with the LIDAR beam and the aurora. Photo by Craig Heinselman


The TMA trail, photographed by Craig Heinselman.


Image of the TMA from Toolik Lake with Hanna's Guppy Cameras.


A second image from Toolik.

17 February 2009

We have finally gotten permission to be able to launch, just when the aurora has disappeared. There are clear skies tonight though, so we are all hopeful that the other rocket team will have a launch tonight. Click here for an update from the PI.


Meghan in front of the Poker Flat Incoherent Scatter Radar.


Sunset as seen from TM, a good sign of clearing skies!


Darla and her weather balloons used to check winds.


The rocket on the rail. Ours is the big one. Lehmacher is the little baby rocket to the left.

15 February 2009

We have been seeing good aurora and are getting excited about a launch! Click here for an update from the PI.


Photo by Craig Heinselman

12 February 2009

The rocket is nearly ready to be launched. After the final build up stages are completed our launch window will officially start. Then we will look for good space weather conditions for launch. For information on the types of conditions we are looking for check out the links at our space weather page. Also, click the photos below for a larger version.


The first two stages of the rocket motors on the launch rail.


Erik in front of the Cornell subpayloads which will measure perpendicular electric fields at two points along the magnetic field line near apogee.


The front end of the main payload with particle detectors at the top and the PFFs stowed underneath.

nosecone lift

Here the nosecone, attached to the forward subpayload, is being lifted and mated with the main payload.


The entire payload is lifted to be mated with the aft subpayload.

nosecone lift

Lowering the rocket in order to be placed on the tractor for transport to the rail.

blanketed payload

The payload is all wrapped up in blankets to keep it warm when it gets rolled outside in the -18F weather.

5 February 2009

The team has been very busy with rocket- and other kinds of testing.

ice sculpture

An ice sculpture on the UAF campus


A dome and the Alaska sun at noon, as viewed from the science center roof

Wayne and Dave

Wayne and Dave working on the payload. Dave was working on the PFF's, and you can see one of the subpayloads on the right side of the photo.


Hanna, Meghan, Erik, and Steve doing some gravity gradient testing with toroidal sensors (a.k.a. sledding) on the range

Field Campaign: 20 January 2009

Our field campaign begins this week. Equipment and personnel are beginning to arrive at Poker Flat. The schedule is here. We begin to watch the patterns of auroral activity as we approach our window opening on February 11.

Postvibe Testing: December 2008

All detectors were tested in vacuum with a particle source after integration and vibration testing were completed. All detectors behaved properly and were put in storage in preparation for shipment to the field.

Integration: October - December 2008

Testing and Calibration: Fall 2008

Detector Fabrication: Summer 2008

Here are some photos: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13