--- Science mission
ION-F is the satellite cluster system of three 10-kg nanosatellites, designed by University of Washington (UW), Utah State University (USU) and Virginia Polytechnic Institute (VT), to investigate satellite coordination and management technologies and distributed ionospheric measurements. This system is scheduled to be launched in November 2001.
The science objective is to understand the ionospheric density structures that can impose large amplitude and phase fluctuations on radio waves passing through the ionosphere. The constellation provides a unique opportunity to answer questions about ionospheric disturbances that can not be addressed by any other way. A single satellite can only provided very limited information on the dimensions and evolutionary time scales of the ionospheric disturbances it flies through because a full orbit (90 minutes) must occur between the next observation. In general the situation is even worse than this because only truly zero inclination equatorial satellites have a good possibility of measuring the same region twice due to the co-rotation of the ionosphere with the Earth.
2. Orbits and Tracking
What's known about ION_F:
- altitude: 370 km
- inclination: 51.6 (degree)
- life time: about 4 month and at 60 km altitude
- velocity: 7.37 km/s
- period: 90 min/run
3. InstrumentationsWith above orbital parameters, the 3D and 2Dorbital trackings were simulated when following 'STATION' which indicates the Int'l Space Station launching on 1998-11-20 at altitude 384 km and inclination 51.6 degree with orbital period 92 minutes
What's known: (need to be updated)