36.361, 36.362, 41.127 & 41.128 UE LEHMACHER/CLEMSON UNIVERSITY
Vorticity Experiment - VorTex

  • Mission
  • Vehicle
  • Launch
  • Photos

The science objective of the Vorticity Experiment (VortEx) is to characterize mesoscale dynamics (10-500 km) in the upper mesosphere and lower thermosphere (90-120 km), a region which also contains the Earth’s turbopause. Rocket and ground-based measurements will be combined to distinguish, on one hand, between divergence in the horizontal flow field and divergent motions, such as gravity waves, and on the other hand, vorticity in the horizontal flow field and vortical motions, such as expected to occur in quasi-stratified mesoscale turbulence. These processes are crucial for a better description of subgrid processes and eddy diffusion in global atmospheric models.

VortEx comprises four vehicles to be launched from Andøya Space: 41.127 and 41.128 are identical payloads carrying two Ion Gauges as well as two booms provided by Embry-Riddle. Two payloads , 36.361 and 41.127 will be launched quasi- simultaneously during the first night that meets the launch conditions; the remaining two payloads, 36.362 and 41.128, will be launched during the second night that meet the launch conditions. The plan is to launch during nighttime in a 19-day launch window. The solar depression angle should be 8 degrees or greater and before moonrise or after moonset.

The two Terrier-Improved Orion payloads carry instrumentation and the two Black Brant IX payloads disperse vapor trails.

The Principal Investigator is Dr. Lehmacher/Clemson University.

Drawing of a Terrier-Black Brant sounding rocket

The Black Brant 9 is a two stage sounding rocket with a Terrier first stage and Black Brant second stage. The Black Brant 9 can reach altitudes of about 600 km. Payloads weighing from 400 to 1200 pounds can be flown.

Drawing of Terrier-Malemute sounding rocket.

The Terrier-Improved Orion is also a two stage sounding rocket with a Terrier first stage and a Improved Orion second stage. The Terrier-Improved Orion is capable of reaching altitudes of about 350 km, depending on payload mass, and can carry payloads weighing 200 to 800 pounds.

Additional sounding rocket vehicles

The VortEx experiments will be launched from Andoya Space, Norway.