The Nordic Ionospheric Sounding rocket Seeding Experiment, NISSE, was accepted to ESA's sounding rocket programme. The Finnish Meteorological Institute is also involved in the project.
REXUS sounding rocket. Photo: SNSB
The NISSE experiment will enable observation and measurement of the effects of a man-made, environmental healthy chemical release in a challenging upper atmosphere altitude region. The low ionization degree of the region will push the watercloud tracking radars to their limits. In the best case NISSE will provide important insights into the characteristics of the ionosphere. The NISSE-team consists of two doctoral degree students from Finland (Oulu, Helsinki) and two students from Norway (Bergen).
"The science aspect of NISSE will be handled mainly at the the Finnish Meteorological Institute and the University of Oulu, while the technical difficulties will be handled in Norway. The design phase is finished and production of the water tank is ready to start", says Gisela Baumann, who works with the project at the Finnish Meteorological Institute.
NISSE to test how a healthy chemical release influences the upper atmosphere
The NISSE experiment will use the EISCAT UHF incoherent scatter radar system, located in Tromsø, Norway, Kiruna, Sweden and Sodankylä, Finland. The radar system will be used to track water ejected at the REXUS 6 rocket´s apogee altitude of 95 km above ground. The total NISSE payload is up to 40 kg. The rocket will be launched from Kiruna Esrange rocket range in Sweden in March 2009.
After having sent a proposal for the REXUS sounding rocket programme to ESA in January 2008, representatives of the Nordic Ionospheric Sounding rocket Seeding Experiment, were invited to present their project to experts from ESA and Esrange at a workshop that was held at the European Space Technology and Research Centre (ESTEC) in the Netherlands.
The three winning rocket flight teams, one of which was the NISSE team, were announced on 7 March. A training week followed at Esrange, Sweden, where students gave presentations and experts reviewed the plans and gave lectures on various topics in order to prepare the students for the rocket launch campaign in March 2009.
"Through this project, ESA may soon send into space not only Finnish astronauts but also research knowledge from Finland, produced by young students," says Gisela Baumann from the Finnish Meteorological Institute.