LAICE CubeSat mission for gravity wave studies

John Westerhoff, Gregory Earle, Rebecca Bishop, Gary R. Swenson, Sharon Vadas, James Clemmons, Ryan Davidson, Lucy Fanelli, Chad Fish, Vidur Garg, Alex Ghosh, Bindu B. Jagannatha, Erik Kroeker, Peter Marquis, Daniel Martin, Stephen Noel, Cameron Orr, Robert Robertson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The Lower Atmosphere/Ionosphere Coupling Experiment (LAICE) CubeSat mission will focus on understanding the interaction of atmospheric gravity waves generated by weather systems in the lower atmosphere with the mesosphere, lower thermosphere, and ionosphere (MLTI). Specifically, LAICE will focus on the energy and momentum delivered by these waves and attempt to connect the wave sources and the wave effects in three widely different altitude ranges, substantially adding to our knowledge of critical coupling processes between disparate atmospheric regions. The LAICE mission consists of a 6U CubeSat with a four-instrument payload. The retarding potential analyzer (RPA) will provide in-situ ion density and temperature measurements. A four-channel photometer will measure density and temperature variations in the mesosphere through observations of O 2 (0, 0) Atmospheric band and O 2 Herzberg I band airglows. There are two pressure sensors that comprise the Space Pressure Suite (SPS): the Space Neutral Pressure Instrument (SNeuPI) and the LAICE Ionization gauge Neutral Atmosphere Sensor (LINAS). Both will provide neutral density measurements, but SNeuPI is a prototype sensor that will be validated by LINAS. This CubeSat mission, scheduled for launch in early 2016 from the International Space Station, provides a cost-effective approach to measuring low altitude in-situ parameters along with simultaneous imaging that is capable of addressing the fundamental questions of atmospheric gravity wave coupling in the MLTI region.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1413-1427
Number of pages15
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number7
StatePublished - 2015


  • Airglow
  • Atmospheric coupling
  • CubeSat
  • Gravity waves
  • Ionosphere

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)

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