CHAMPS

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For the second consecutive year, the Research Range Services (RRS) Program employed its mobile telemetry instrumentation, along with other critical mobile assets and personnel, to a destination north of the Arctic Circle—the island of Andøya, Norway. Mission support covered the launch of two Terrier Mark 12 sounding rockets on October 11, 2011, and October 13, 2011, from Andøya Rocket Range.

The campaign, known as Charge and Mass Meteoritic Smoke Particles (CHAMPS), was deployed to detect and measure the meteoritic smoke particles in the mesosphere that have long been thought to be the condensation nuclei for noctilucent clouds. The two rockets were launched near the midnight hour and in the early afternoon, respectively, to cover the rich scientific possibilities sought after by the mission’s principal investigator from the University of Colorado.

In September 2010, a pre-mission deployment team prepared the Andøya location for the Rocket Experiment for Neutral Upwelling (RENU) mission by placing a mobile 7-meter antenna, mobile super-van, and a mobile power van configured to connect to Norwegian commercial power feeds. In September 2011, a pre-mission deployment team consisting of RRS engineers and a hydro-mechanical technician brought the site back alive for the CHAMPS mission. Additional preparation for the mission included integration of the Selectable Internet Protocol Slaving System, configured and successfully interfaced with the Norwegian Ground Station Control by RRS mobile telemetry personnel. A two-person team also met with a commercial satellite downlink provider in Tromsø, Norway, to discuss requirements for acquiring off-axis telemetry data during flight.

Additional RRS support included project management, financial analysis, high speed video, weather forecasting, timing and scheduling. Often, the unsung heroes of a mobile campaign are the technicians in the logistics department. Literally tons of equipment is historically shipped worldwide in order to properly outfit a mobile range. The CHAMPS mission alone successfully sent 33 shipments consisting of 724 pieces of RRS instrumentation to various locations in Norway.

Mobile campaigns in foreign countries provide many obstacles, such as language barriers and integrating the two country’s assets into one functional range; however, RRS personnel were able to overcome these obstacles and perform exceptionally, delivering all required data to its customers.

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