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The AMPTE (Active Magnetospheric Particle Tracer Explorers) mission was designed to study the access of solar-wind ions to the magnetosphere, the convective-diffusive transport and energization of magnetospheric particles, and the interactions of plasmas in space.

The program consisted of three spacecraft: the CCE, which measured in the magnetosphere the ions released by the IRM; the IRM; and the UKS, which used thrusters to keep station near the IRM to provide two-point local measurements. The IRM provided multiple ion releases in the solar wind, the magnetosheath, and the magnetotail, with in situ diagnostics of each.

The IRM spacecraft was spin-stabilized at 15 rpm. Its spin axis was initially in the ecliptic plane, but later it was adjusted with magnetic torqueing to be at right angles to the ecliptic. The power system was a 60 W solar array with redundant batteries. There was a redundant S-band telemetry and telecommand system. Telemetry rates could be chosen between 1 and 8 kbps. For injection into the final orbit, the IRM carried its own kick stage. In addition to the ion releases, the instruments on board the spacecraft monitored the ambient, magnetosphere, but with the data acquisition confined to the passes that could be tracked in real time from Germany.

The spacecraft became inoperational as of 14 August 86. The PI for the German AMPTE Program was G. Haerendel. The release experiment and the diagnostic instruments were each provided by a lead investigator (LI). For more details, see B. Hausler et al., IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing, v. GE-23, p. 192, 1985.

Alternate Names

  • 15200
  • AMPTE/Ion Release Module
  • IRM
  • Ion Release Module
  • irm

Facts in Brief

Launch Date: 1984-08-16
Launch Vehicle: Delta 3924
Launch Site: Cape Canaveral, United States
Mass: 705 kg
Nominal Power: 60 W

Funding Agency

  • Bundesministerium fuer Forschung und Tecnnologie (Federal Republic of Germany)


  • Space Physics

Additional Information

Questions and comments about this spacecraft can be directed to: Dr. Timothy E. Eastman



NameRoleOriginal AffiliationE-mail
Dr. M. OtterbeinProgram ManagerBundesministerium fuer Forschung und Technologie
Dr. Bernd HauslerProject ManagerMax-Planck-Institut fur Extraterrestrische
Mr. V. JoneleitProject ManagerDeutsche Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt (DLR)
Dr. Gerhard HaerendelMission Principal InvestigatorMax-Planck-Institut fur Extraterrestrische
Dr. Goetz PaschmannProject ScientistMax-Planck-Institut fur Extraterrestrische

Other AMPTE Data/Information at NSSDCA


Other Sources of AMPTE Data/Information

AMPTE Science Data Center
AMPTE/IRM Data Center

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