Mission Details

MAG Team




Mission Details

The Dynamo overall scientific objectives are to explore, for the first time, the ion-neutral coupling, wind shears and electrodynamics of the mid-latitude lower ionosphere during the daytime. Never before has the 90-130km dayside ionosphere current been measured and linked to a specific part of the dynamo equation: J=σ*(E+(U×B)), where σ is the conductivity tensor, and J, E, U, B are the current density, electric field, neutral velocity and magnetic field.


The JPL/UCLA MAG instrument measures the DC magnetic field and its variation with altitude, from which the ionospheric current can be derived using Ampere's law. The electric fields are measured by the GSFC electric field experiment, and the ions and neutrals by the neutral density and ion mass spectrometer of the Aerospace Corporation and the neutral wind experiments by Clemson University and Kyoto University using a second (daughter) payload launched 15 seconds later. The MAG instrument measurement objectives are to measure the low frequency magnetic field and its variation with altitude, to determine the ionospheric dynamo current and its height distribution. The required sensitivity is <1nT and the required relative stability <1nT/10min.

Dynamo rocket liftoff from Wallops Island

The Dynamo rocket launch occurred on Sunday, July 10, 2011, under ionospherically very active conditions. The MAG experiment performed nominally and data are currently being analyzed. A second pair of rockets, also carrying a JPL/UCLA MAG on the mother payload, is expected to be launched on ionospherically quiet conditions, as part of the Dynamo investigation. The second pair launch was delayed for 1 year to June 2012, to give the neutral wind experiment additional time to diagnose and optimize its observation conditions.

Payload Diagram and Launch Vehicle Characteristics:

(click to enlarge)