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Home > Rockets > Scifer-2

SCIFER-2: Sounding of the Cusp Ion Fountain Energization Region-2

The SCIFER-2 sounding rocket will measure ion drifts and distribution functions, electron temperature and density, electron and ion precipitation, convection electric fields, magnetic fields from which FAC can be inferred, and plasma waves (from which Ne is inferred). The objectives of the experiment are to determine the physical mechanisms responsible for the ionospheric outflow, the source of free energy for the outflows, and to investigate the chain of processes leading to ion outflows observed by satellites at higher altitudes in the cusp.

Look below for updates from integration, buildup, and launch campaign. Also, for information on the original Scifer flight, see the papers below.
SCIFER - Structure of the cleft ion fountain at 1400 km altitude
The SCIFER Experiment
SCIFER - Transverse ion acceleration and plasma waves

~~~~Launch campaign~~~~

Updates for the Scifer-2 launch campaign can also be found at the UNH page or the UNH blog.

Saturday 19 Jan:
Final Update from Paul Kintner
Final Collage

ROPA The aurora overhead at apogee.

Friday 18 Jan:We launched the rocket! SCIFER 2 was successfully launched at 0730 UT. The science conditions were ideal and the payload worked perfectly. The skies were clear locally and EISCAT report good upflows. Apparently the payload passed very near overhead at Longyearbyen.
Thursday Update from Paul Kintner
Paul next to a huge snowdrift.

Thursday 17 Jan:The weather has been quite blustery in Longyearbyen. It has also been too windy to launch down in Andenes, which is really unfortunate.
Wednesday Update from Paul Kintner
Tuesday Update from Paul Kintner

Here are some pictures that Paul refers to in his updates.
Inside the bandwagon
Pushing the broken-down car

Tuesday 15 Jan: Sorry I missed a couple days of updating. Everyone has been getting pretty anxious to launch this rocket already. Travel plans have been altered in order to stay in Norway until the end of the window. Today is a required day off, but then we will have five more days to try to launch, so we are hoping things will go well. Science conditions have been looking better the past two days, so that is encouraging.
Monday Update from Paul Kintner
Sunday Update from Paul Kintner

We also have some new photos from Andenes taken by Steve Powell or Kevin Rhoads.
The TM Antenna
The Rocket on the rail
The luxurious TM van

Saturday 12 Jan:The science team just arrived at KHO. Conditions haven't quite turned in our favor, but it is still early, so we remain hopeful.
Update from Paul Kintner

Friday 11 Jan:Today nothing very exciting has been happening with the space weather conditions. We have been looking at the type of conditions we can expect for tomorrow and things are looking promising!
Update from Paul Kintner

Thursday 10 Jan: Well the rocket stuff is about the same. The sky is very clear today, and we saw some brilliant aurora overhead on our way to the observatory. Fred was outside taking pictures, so we got one of the four of us in front of the observatory. From left to right is Paul Kintner, Meghan Mella, Erik Lundberg, and Marc Lessard.

ROPA Photo by Fred Sigernes

Some of Fred's other photos of the aurora this morning are below.
Aurora over Longyearbyen
Aurora and the big dome
Aurora and the small domes

Yesterday afternoon we went to the Svalbard museum, which highlighted the more remarkable parts of the history of Svalbard. Some photos are below.
Update from Paul Kintner

Erik, the Cornell grad student, about to be run over.
Polar bear! Hopefully this is the only polar bear Meghan will encounter.
Polar bear trap. On display at the Svalbard museum. They put food in there and when the polar bear reaches in to get it he sets a trigger on a rifle... kind of unfortunate.
Svalbard poetry.

Wednesday 9 Jan:The science team just arrived at KHO, and the launch window will open soon. We are hoping for good weather (both for launching and for science).
Update from Paul Kintner

Sign we pass on the way to the observatory every day.

Tuesday 8 Jan:Today was the first day we were "in for winds" at the rocket range. Up until now the winds were either too strong or in the wrong direction for launching. The space weather was only slightly interesting though. We didn't have any lasting activity, plus it was cloudy in Longyearbyen so we didn't have any optical instrumentation to check out.
Update from Paul Kintner

Monday 7 Jan:Good morning from Svalbard! We are just getting started today. Yesterday was pretty good, and hopefully today will be better!
Update from Paul Kintner

Sunday 6 Jan:Again, we are in the middle of the launch window. You can read about yesterday's status in Paul's update below.
Update from Paul Kintner

On Friday when we came up to KHO we had to take the bandwagon, which was parked on top of this huge snowbank. On Saturday we were able to drive in, because all this snow had been cleared out.

Saturday 5 Jan: The launch window will begin soon here in Norway. Yesterday we did not see anything too exciting as far as space weather goes, but we did see two Svalbard reindeer. Yesterday was also our first day up to KHO. We rode in the beltwagon because the road hadn't been plowed. Before we headed back to town we also got a tour of Eiscat.
Update from Paul Kintner

Meghan and the bandwagon
Part of the cooling system at Eiscat
Svalbard reindeer

This morning we are seeing some interesting science. We are finally seeing some substorms, but the winds in Andenes are too high to launch.
Update from Paul Kintner

Friday 4 Jan: We are currently in the middle of the launch window. The rocket is vertical, and we are holding at T-15 minutes, until conditions are favorable.
Update from Paul Kintner

Thursday 3 Jan: High winds in Andenes, along with avalanche danger in Svalbard, prevented us from launching today.
Update from Paul Kintner

We also got to see the Hotpay2 rocket, which will launch from ARR in late January/early February. We did one last check of the Dust detector, which was built entirely by the undergraduate students in our group. Below are pictures of the rocket in the build-up stage.


Kristina and Lars testing the detector
Other experiments
Other experiments
Dust detector mounted

Wednesday 2 Jan: We had to close the launch window early today for several reasons. The science conditions remain dull, and the winds at the range were too strong to launch. Most importantly, the telemetry guys in Svalbard couldn't get to their station because the avalanche specialist said it would not be safe to clear the roads until 3pm local time. So we will try again tomorrow!

Also of interest may be the real time space weather page, which is linked at the left. There is a new section added to the bottom for Scifer-2 links. Here you can find the pages we are consulting to determine when the science conditions are good for launching. This includes solar wind data, magnetometer data, images of the sun, and eiscat radar, to name a few.

Here are some new photos:
Fireworks in Andenes on New Year's Eve
signage in front of ARR
the beach pink sky at about 12:30pm

Update from Paul Kintner

Tuesday 1 Jan: Today is a day off. Below is a picture of the scenery in Andenes. Also, you can see the rocket (click the image for a larger view), encased in styrofoam, which is lowered from vertical in this photo.


Update from Paul Kintner

Monday 31 Dec: This morning we had the practice count, which went really well. Here are some pictures of the rocket being put onto its rail. The rocket is surrounded by a styrofoam casing. This keeps the rocket and motors at room temperature when heat is pumped in through the bottom.

the motors without the payload
the rocket with the payload and nosecone If you look just below the nosecone you can see a small tube sticking out of the rocket. This is the nitrogen purge line which keeps the payload at low humidity.
the rocket (different view)

Sunday 30 Dec: The payload is mounted on the rail with the motors attached; an initial turn-on test in this configuration has been completed.

Saturday 29 Dec: Update from Paul Kintner


Friday 14 Dec: The buildup phase is complete and the rocket is ready to be mounted to the motors and hung from the rail.

Here is the nosecone at the end of the buildup phase.
Here it is with the nosecone on.
Here is one of the motors.
Here are other motors.
Here is the rail.


Proposal- Sounding of the Cusp Ion Fountain Energization Region-2: SCIFER-2 (.pdf)