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Rocket Auroral Correlator Experiment (RACE)
Launch date: 6 February, 2002
Launch time: 9:38:51 UT
Launch team: Principal Investigator: Craig Kletzing, Bounds (University of Iowa); Labelle, Samara, Harjes (Dartmouth)
Vehicle apogee: 922.06 km (Predicted: 897.7 km, ~550 sec)
Payload weight: 489.74 lbs
Location: Poker Flat, AK (65.13¡ N, 147.48¡ W)
Instrument list: Ion Spectrometer, Electron Spectrometer, Large Geometric Factor Electron Detectors (Bagels), Wave Particle Correlator (University of Iowa); Vector Electric Field Measurements, High Frequency, Low Frequency, and DC Electric Field (Dartmouth)
The principal scientific goal of the Rocket Auroral Correlator Experiment (RACE) is to measure Langmuir waves stimulated by the auroral electron beam, which represent a pathway of energy between the auroral electron beam and the thermal background ionospheric plasma.
These waves have been detected on many previous rocket flights, sometimes with large amplitudes exceeding 100 mV/m. They are sporadic in nature, and sometimes modulated, possibly indicating interaction wiht lower frequency waves. A host of other wave modes occur in the auroral zone at the same time as the bursty Langmuir waves, including whistler mode waves, O-mode waves, upper hybrid waves, etc.
On RACE, Dartmouth provides the high frequency waveform measurements on 3 channels, one channel measuring parallel electric field fluctuations up to 5 MHz, and the other two measuring perpendicular electric field fluctuations up to 2.5 MHz. The parallel channel, optimally sensitive to Langmuir waves, is used to drive the U-Iowa wave-particle correlator. This will tell us how the energetic auroral electrons in many different selected energy ranges are correlated with the Langmuir waves. This detailed measurement will verify theories about the wave-particle interactions.
The perpendicular electric field measurements are made using two perpendicular antennas in the plane perpendicular to the magnetic field. These measurements are designed to measure the phase difference between the two antenna signals at all frequencies from 100 kHz to 2.5 MHz. As a result, the polarization of all waves in this frequency range will be determined, allowing accurate identification of the modes of the various waves mentioned above which are observed in association with the aurora. By verifying the mode identification, these wave signatures can then be used to determine electron density and other parameters, not just on this flight but also on other rocket flights where they occur, including many previous flights.
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