Rocket Experiment for Neutral Upwelling (RENU)

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When the solar wind interacts with the Earth's magnetosphere, both energy and matter can be transferred across the magnetopause boundary. This transfer gives rise to numerous phenomena, including ion outflow and neutral upwelling in the polar cusps. These processes are caused by a transfer of energy to the ionospheric plasma and neutral gas through various mechanisms. The heated plasma or gas expands, increasing the density of the atmosphere at high altitudes by as much as a factor of two, and injecting ionospheric plasma into and even outside of the magnetosphere.  Rocket Experiment for Neutral Upwelling (RENU) sounding rocket will study the electrodynamic properties of the cusp during a neutral upwelling event.

The instruments on board RENU 2 will:
1. measure neutral gas, ion, and electron temperature enhancements, which will provide an initial assessment of the upwelling process.

2. measure large- and small-scale Joule heating in the cusp during the RENU overflight. Large-scale data will be acquired by EISCAT; small-scale data (perhaps associated with Alfven waves) will be acquired using onboard electric field measurements. The cusp is the region that provides the most direct path from the solar wind to the ionosphere and thermosphere.

3. measure the precipitating electron energy input. Theory and observations suggest that various types of electron precipitation may contribute to neutral upwelling; knowledge of the precipitating population is important for understanding this effect.

4. measure quantities as inputs to thermodynamic and electrodynamic models for comparison to the observed upwelling.

More information on RENU:

Andoya Space Center

University of New Hampshire

Drawing of a Terrier-Black Brant sounding rocket

The Black Brant XII-A is a four stage sounding rocket with a Talos first stage, Terrier second stage, Black Brant third stage and a Nihka fourth stage. The Black Brant XII-A can reach altitudes of about 1400 km. Payloads weighing from 300 to 1000 pounds can be flown.

Additional sounding rocket vehicles

Google Earth Map showing White Sands Missile Range.

The RENU mission launched from Andoya Rocket Range, Norway on December 13, 2015.