National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center
VISIONS and VISIONS-2 are sounding rocket missions with the goal of analyzing the auroral wind and cusp ion outflow using low energy neutral atom (ENA) imaging at low altitudes of the ionosphere. VISI..
VISIONS and VISIONS-2 are sounding rocket missions with the goal of analyzing the auroral wind and cusp ion outflow using low energy neutral atom (ENA) imaging at low altitudes of the ionosphere. VISIONS-1 launched February 2013 and VISIONS-2 will launch in December 2018. VISIONS-3 is the proposed follow-up mission to VISIONS-1 and VISIONS-2, intended to use tomographic reconstruction with two launch vehicles. The overlap of line-of-sight regions from the two viewpoints of the sounding rockets provides boundary conditions to mathematically constrain data analysis, similar to a CAT Scan. Trade studies were conducted to analyze the benefits of different launch ranges, configurations, number of launch vehicles, type of launch vehicle, number of scientific instruments, mechanical sizing of payload, and their respective effects on the cost of the mission. These trade studies were conducted using a combination of Microsoft Powerpoint, Excel, and Solidworks software. A mass budget constrained by the desired altitude of >650km and a monetary budget capped at 2 million were also considered during these trade studies. The Norway launch range was selected for the launch, with two Black Brant XII Sounding Rockets from Wallops Flight Facility launched between 1-3 minutes apart with a launch azimuth separation of 6-16 degree. The launch will be during the day to analyze the poleward moving auroral forms. Future goals for this project include simulating data for the mission, defining instrument accommodation requirements, and writing the mission proposal to be submitted to NASA.