SPORT Satellite First Light: Observations of Plasma Bubbles

The Scintillation Prediction Observations Research Task (SPORT) 6U CubeSat, deployed into a 52-degree, 405-km orbit on 12/28/22, has measured equatorial plasma bubbles for the first time.  The science team is working to understand the observations, which have more complexity than expected.  These data directly addresses the Science Question: “What is the state of the ionosphere that gives rise to the growth of plasma bubbles that extend into and above the F-peak?”

The science team is busy in targeted discussions to compare measurements primarily in plasma density and vector magnetic field.  These cross-calibration activities assist in understanding how the instruments are performing to meet their measurement objectives.  Additionally, the scientists are working with operators of ground-based science instruments to coordinate simultaneous data collection during satellite overpasses.  Analysis is ongoing.  Level 2 data products are expected to be available to the public in 4Q CY2023.  The satellite is expected to re-enter by early October 2023.

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