Cluster post launch extension from April 2010

Lead Research Organisation: University of Sheffield
Department Name: Automatic Control and Systems Eng


The Cluster mission is an ESA cornerstone mission with the objective to make major breakthroughs in our understanding of how the Earth's magnetosphere works, the Earth's response to changing solar-wind conditions, internal instabilities and the influence exerted by the ionosphere. Cluster was launched in 2000 and began operations in February 2001. ESA has extended the mission at least to the end of 2012. Cluster provides a unique capability to measure important characteristics of the plasma environment. Cluster is a core facility for the delivery of the Solar System strategy addressing the themes of energy flow in the Solar System and understanding fundamental plasma processes. The Digital Wave Processor, DWP, instrument is one of the three UK PI instruments to be flown on the four Cluster satellites. DWP is one of the five experiments (DWP, STAFF, EFW, WHISPER, and WBD) that together comprise the Wave Experiment Consortium (WEC). The WEC was formed to allow the sharing of resources and skills available within the community The WEC comprises a complicated set of instruments that share several of the resources available on the spacecraft such as electrical power, data rate and the use of booms and sensors. The WEC forms almost half of the scientific payload on each of the spacecraft. One of the WEC instruments (WBD) makes use of the NASA DSN (Deep Space Network) to collect much of its data. This is done to a schedule that overlaps with the schedule for data collection by the ESA ground stations. The resource sharing of the WEC, use of DSN and importance of WEC data, make both the instrument scheduling and data handling (including validation) complicated and of importance to the success of the mission. The DWP PI and team have been active in project-wide activities to co-ordinate operations, data handling and science planning. Operations of the WEC are co-ordinated by the WEC Operation Group which is chaired by the DWP PI. The UK is the lead contributor to the scientific exploitation and data handling on this mission. PI institutes are responsible for the instrument operation and provision to the Cluster Active Archive (CAA) of the highest resolution data, with supporting metadata and documentation. The DWP provides integrated commanding, synchronisation and on-board data processing for the WEC. Without this instrument 20 of the 41 Cluster instruments would not operate, including the only NASA led instrument on the mission, WBD. The UK through the DWP gains access to data from all 5 wave experiments in the WEC. Waves and electromagnetic field structures are fundamental in controlling all processes of physical change in the magnetospheric and solar wind plasma. The DWP also contains the UK particle correlator experiment which directly measures particle wave interactions and kinetic turbulence.


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