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The Far Ultra-Violet Imager on the Icon Mission

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Abstract

ICON Far UltraViolet (FUV) imager contributes to the ICON science objectives by providing remote sensing measurements of the daytime and nighttime atmosphere/ionosphere. During sunlit atmospheric conditions, ICON FUV images the limb altitude profile in the shortwave (SW) band at 135.6 nm and the longwave (LW) band at 157 nm perpendicular to the satellite motion to retrieve the atmospheric O/N2 ratio. In conditions of atmospheric darkness, ICON FUV measures the 135.6 nm recombination emission of \(\mathrm{O}^{+}\) ions used to compute the nighttime ionospheric altitude distribution. ICON Far UltraViolet (FUV) imager is a Czerny–Turner design Spectrographic Imager with two exit slits and corresponding back imager cameras that produce two independent images in separate wavelength bands on two detectors. All observations will be processed as limb altitude profiles. In addition, the ionospheric 135.6 nm data will be processed as longitude and latitude spatial maps to obtain images of ion distributions around regions of equatorial spread F. The ICON FUV optic axis is pointed 20 degrees below local horizontal and has a steering mirror that allows the field of view to be steered up to 30 degrees forward and aft, to keep the local magnetic meridian in the field of view. The detectors are micro channel plate (MCP) intensified FUV tubes with the phosphor fiber-optically coupled to Charge Coupled Devices (CCDs). The dual stack MCP-s amplify the photoelectron signals to overcome the CCD noise and the rapidly scanned frames are co-added to digitally create 12-second integrated images. Digital on-board signal processing is used to compensate for geometric distortion and satellite motion and to achieve data compression. The instrument was originally aligned in visible light by using a special grating and visible cameras. Final alignment, functional and environmental testing and calibration were performed in a large vacuum chamber with a UV source. The test and calibration program showed that ICON FUV meets its design requirements and is ready to be launched on the ICON spacecraft.

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Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the contributions of many persons who made it possible for us to build the ICON FUV experiment. There are too many persons to be named individually at the various institutions which cooperated in producing the ICON FUV instrument at the University of California, Berkeley, at the Centre Spatiale de Liege in Belgium, at the Space Dynamics Laboratory in Logan Utah, and the Lockheed Advanced Technology Center in Palo Alto, at the Goddard Spaceflight Center in Greenbelt Maryland, at Orbital-ATK in Dulles, Virginia and at several other institutions. The authors gratefully acknowledge funding by the NASA’s Explorers Program under the Ionospheric CONnection Explorer (ICON) project contract number NNG12FA45C.

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The Ionospheric Connection Explorer (ICON) mission

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Mende, S.B., Frey, H.U., Rider, K. et al. The Far Ultra-Violet Imager on the Icon Mission. Space Sci Rev 212, 655–696 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11214-017-0386-0

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