Atmosphere Explorers C, D, and E 15-Second Data On CD-ROM

Volume 11, Number 1, March 1995
By Dieter Bilitza, Natasha Papitashvili
NSSDC is preparing the 15-second Unified Abstract (UA) data from Atmosphere Explorers C, D, and E (AE-C,D,E) for release on one CD-ROM ftp site and via floppy disk. Launched in the mid-seventies, the AE satellites have collected a large data base of ionospheric and thermospheric densities, temperatures, winds/drifts, and emissions for almost a full solar cycle (1973-81). Flying nearly identical sets of 14 in situ experiments in complementary orbits, the three satellites have produced a unique global data base for the most important ionospheric and thermospheric parameter. To study the global morphology and seasonal changes at a fixed altitude in greater detail, the satellites were maneuvered (with the onboard propulsion system) into circular orbits at 300 km and 400 km for 1-year periods, and than back into elliptical orbits.

The data on the CD-ROM will be in ASCII format, and MS-DOS access and plotting software will be made available from NSSDC's anonymous ftp site. The data cover the time periods, December 16, 1973 to December 11, 1978, for AE-C; October 6, 1975 to January 29, 1976, for AE-D; and December 1, 1975 to June-6, 1981, for AE-E. The UA merged mission file includes data from the following experiments: Cylindrical Electrostatic Probe (CEP); Atmospheric Density Accelerometer (MESA); Photoelectron Spectrometer (PES); Retarding Potential Analyzer/Drift Meter (RPA), Open; Source Neutral Mass Spectrometer (OSS), Closed; Source Neutral Mass Spectrometer; Neutral Atmosphere Temperature Experiment (NATE); Magnetic Ion-Mass Spectrometer (MIMS); Bennett Ion-Mass Spectrometer (BIMS); Low-Energy Electron (LEE); Ultraviolet Nitric-Oxide (UVNO); Visible Airglow Photometer (VAE); and Neutral Atmosphere Composition Experiment (NACE). In addition to the actual data, the CD will include brief descriptions of the satellite missions of each experiment, and the data format.

The CD-ROM will also include EUV reference spectra and photon flux data from the Solar EUV Spectrophotometer (EUVS). EUVS data were not part of the original UA submission, but were included on the CD because of their importance in specifying the solar energy input. Additionally, the CD will contain the software and documentation for models that are related to the AE data (International Reference Ionosphere, IRI, and MASS Spectrometer Incoherent Scatter [MSIS] thermospheric model). Independently, the access and plotting software will provide an option to directly compare the satellite densities and temperatures with their IRI and MSIS counterparts.

The CD is being created by N. Papitashvili with help from D. Bilitza, J. King and the GSFC/Code 914 scientists, A. Hedin, W. Hoegy, D. Pesnell, and J. Grebowsky.

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Author:Miranda Beall
Curators: Erin Gardner and Miranda Beall
Responsible Official: Dr. Joseph H. King, Code 633
Last Revised: 04 Dec 1996 [EDG]