Executive Summary




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SSUSI Science Interpretation Manual June 1996

Executive Summary



The Block 5D3 Special Sensors will provide the first comprehensive operational space-based investigation of the physical and chemical processes in the Earth's upper atmosphere (above 80km). The upper atmosphere is the region that contains the mesophere, thermosphere, and ionosphere. This region is poorly understood due to the difficulty in carrying out in situ measurements, its inherent complexity, and the need to develope a comprehensive global picture of this environment. While the basic physics that controls this region is understood, it does represent a difficult region to model since the atmospheric temperature and temperature gradients reach their largest values, composition changes from molecular to predominantly atomic, complex chemical and electrodynamic processes become the major determinants of composition, and where the combination of these effects prevent an adequate global description of the upper atmospheric "weather".


The Special Sensor Ultraviolet Spectrographic Imager (SSUSI) has two parts: a scanning imaging spectrograph (SIS) (its field-of-view is scanned from horizon to horizon) and a nadir-looking photometer system (NPS). The SIS produces simultaneous monochromatic images over the spectral range 115 to 180 nm. The NPS consists of three photometers with filters designed to monitor the airglow at 427.8 nm and 630.2 nm and the terrestrial albedo near 629.4 nm. SSUSI will fly on the United States Air Force Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Block 5D3 satellites S-16 through S-20 beginning in the later part of this decade. SSUSI will provide information on the ionosphere and thermosphere by monitoring three general regions: the daytime low- to mid-latitude ionosphere, the nighttime low- to mid-latitude ionosphere and the high-latitude auroral zone. With the development of sophisticated remote sensing instruments capable of obtaining simultaneous monochromatic images at a number of wavelengths, and automated data processing techniques, it has become possible routinely to produce maps of the characteristics of the upper atmosphere. SSUSI products include maps of the auroral oval, the characteristic energy and flux of the electrons which excite the aurora, the auroral E-region ionospheric electron density profile, F-region ionospheric electron density profiles, and dayside neutral composition information.


The satellite and instrument requirements for the DMSP Block 5D3 were derived form a number of sources. For the Special Sensor Ultraviolet Spectrographic Imager (SSUSI), the major source of performance requirements was the MJCS 154-85. This document set performance goals for the specification of the upper atmospheres neutral and ionic composition and temperature by sensors. These requirements have not changed in the SORD or the IORD.


To fully realize the potential of the data returned from SSUSI, the Ground Data Analysis Software (GDAS) was written. It consists of two major items: CSCI 1 called the “algorithms” and CSCI 2 called the “displays”. The algorithms ingest the raw SSUSI data and convert it into sensor data records (SDR) and environmental data records (EDR). These products can then be interactively displayed by a user through the displays software. At the request of the SPO the algorithms were written in Ada using an object oriented approach (Booch methodology) and documented to a modified MilSpec 2167A level. The displays were specified as being written in PV-Wave.


Table 1-1. SSUSI Data Products



aurora

night

day

boundary specification

Total electron content, TEC

solar EUV flux index, Q


characteristic proton energy, Ep

height of layer, hmF2

exospheric temperature, T


characteristic electron energy, Ee




Total electron content, TEC


height of layer, hmE




height of layer, hmF2



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