Scientific Objectives of the Canadian CASSIOPE Enhanced Polar Outflow Probe (e-POP) Small Satellite Mission

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Abstract

CASSIOPE is a Canadian small satellite scheduled for launch in 2011 into a polar orbit (325 × 1500 km, 80° inclination). The mission scientific objective of its Enhanced Polar Outflow Probe (e-POP) payload is to make observations of mesoscale and microscale plasma processes in the topside polar ionosphere at the highest-possible resolution, specifically to study the microscale characteristics of plasma outflow and related acceleration processes, the occurrence morphology of neutral escape, and the effects of auroral currents on plasma outflow and those of plasma microstructures on radio propagation. The e-POP payload will carry a suite of 8 scientific instruments, including imaging plasma and neutral particle sensors, magnetometers, dual-frequency Global Positioning System (GPS) receivers, charge-coupled-device (CCD) cameras, a radio wave receiver and a beacon transmitter. It will utilize a large (terabyte) data storage and downlink capacity onboard to support the planned high-resolution observations. The imaging plasma sensors will measure particle distributions and the magnetometers will measure field-aligned currents on a time scale of 10 ms and spatial scale of ∼100 m. The CCD cameras will capture auroral images on a time scale of 100 ms. The GPS and radio-wave receivers will perform imaging studies of the ionosphere in conjunction with ground-based transmitters, as will the beacon transmitter in conjunction with ground receiving stations. In this chapter, we discuss the planned investigations of plasma outflow, wave propagation, and related plasma processes in the e-POP mission in the context of its mission scientific objective.