The experiments are the Limb-Imaging Ionospheric and Thermospheric Extreme Ultraviolet (UV) Spectrograph (LITES) and the Global Positioning System (GPS) Radio Occultation and UV Photometer Co-located (GROUP-C) experiments, lead by Drs. Andrew Stephan and Scott Budzien, research physicists at NRL.
Using high-sensitivity UV photometry and GPS radio occultation, Budzien’s GROUP-C remotely observes vertical and horizontal structures in the ionosphere. GROUP-C uses remote sensing in the orbit plane to characterize the low and mid-altitude ionosphere, specifically two-dimensional structures at night.
According to Budzien, the instruments used in GROUP-C are second-generation power sensors designed to improve performance, while reducing overall size and weight. Earlier versions of the NRL photometer flew aboard a U.S.—Taiwan six-satellite mission known as the Constellation Observing System for Meteorology, Ionosphere, and Climate (COSMIC), also called FORMOSAT-3. The GROUP-C experiment builds upon the joint UV-GPS measurement technique successfully demonstrated during that mission.
“The instrument suite includes state-of-the-art hardware designed to demonstrate high-performance, low-cost, compact space sensors suitable for future space environment and space weather satellite missions,” said Budzien.