The IACG Selects New Initiatives

Volume 13, Number 1, March 1997
By James L. Green

The 16th Inter-Agency Consultative Group (IACG) meeting was held December 10-11, 1996, at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The IACG is made up of the science heads from the European Space Agency (ESA - Dr. R. Bonnet), the Space Research Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IKI - Dr. A. Galeev), the Institute of Space and Aeronautical Science-Japan (ISAS - Dr. A. Nishida), and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA - Dr. W. Huntress). The role of the IACG is to facilitate the coordination between the IACG space physics missions, to acquire the data necessary to meet new science objectives, and to promote correlative data analysis to get more quality science out of each individual agency's missions.

ESA Delegation, from left to right: Daniel Dale, J. Geiss, R. Bonnet, John Credland, Martin Huber, and G. Cavallo.

ISAS Delegation, from left to right: I. Nakatani, H. Matsuo, A. Nishida, Y. Matogawa, and K. Tsurudo.

NASA Delegation, from left to right: George Gloeckler, James Green, George Withbroe, and Hugh Hudson.

Russian Delegation, from left to right: R. Sunyaev, Alex Galeev, Ravil Nazirov, and Leo Zelenyi.

In order to focus their correlative data analysis efforts, each of the agencies' core missions are participating in well-defined scientific campaigns. Four campaigns have so far been defined. The IACG has utilized three working groups in order to plan and conduct the science campaigns. Working Group-1 is the Science Working Group (chaired by A. Pedersen, European Space Technology Center [ESTEC]) and is chartered with the planning of coordinated science campaigns concentrating primarily on the Geotail, Interball, WIND, Polar, and SOlar and Heliospheric Observatory (SOHO) missions (referred to as the IACG core missions). Working Group-2 (chaired by Dr. J. Green, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center) has facilitated data exchange between the agency missions and scientists. Working Group-3 (chaired by K. Uesugi, ISAS) has performed the necessary satellite orbit or orbital analysis for each of the science campaigns. For more information about the efforts of these working groups and the resulting campaigns, please see the URL

Update on the Campaigns

A key part of this IACG meeting was to provide the agency heads with an update on the status of the campaigns. The First IACG Campaign is designed to study the Earth's magnetotail energy flow and the role of non-linear dynamics. The lead coordinator for Campaign 1 is Dr. J. Green. Dr. Green gave an update on Campaign 1, which has been very successful, benefiting from spacecraft (WIND, Geotail, Interball, and Polar in particular) in interesting locations throughout the magnetosphere. In addition to the IACG Web site, data from selected intervals have been put on CD ROM and are available from the ISTP Project and at the National Space Science Data Center. Dr. Green also announced that Phase 2 of Campaign 1 was well underway and that the important science interval chosen extended from October 1, 1996, through the end of February 1997.

The Second IACG Campaign deals with boundaries in collisionless plasmas and is co-chaired by Dr. R. Schmidt. Dr. Schmidt gave an overview of the Cluster situation as Cluster was a major element of Campaign 2. Because the Cluster mission was aborted after launch, no correlative data activities are planned at this time. At the time of the IACG meeting, a decision on a full reflight of Cluster was pending from the ESA Science Programme Committee. At this time (early March 1997) no decision has been made to fly the entire mission; however, the remaining Cluster single space spacecraft, called Phoenix, will be launched at the end of 1997 or early 1998.

The Third IACG Campaign covers solar events and their manifestations in interplanetary space and in geospace. Campaign 3 has the ambitious aim of identifying a coronal mass ejection (CME) on the Sun and observing its effect in geospace. A coronal mass ejection and magnetic cloud (CME-MC) event occurred on January 6-11, 1997, and has attracted a large amount of attention both in the scientific community and the media. This CME-MC event is an important period for the IACG since it occurred during the designated time interval for the IACG Campaigns 1 and 3. In addition, there will be an ESLAB symposium titled "Correlated Phenomena at the Sun, in the Heliosphere, and in Geospace." This symposium has been organized by ESA and endorsed by the IACG and will be held at ESTEC, Noordwijk, on September 22-25, 1997. The symposium will provide an important forum for discussing the IACG Campaign results coming from the CME-MC event.

Reshaping Future Space Science Coordination

The IACG created a new working group structure to carry out its current and future space science coordination activities. The re-structured working groups and panels are as follows:

New WG-1: Solar System Exploration Working Group
New WG-2: Solar Terrestrial-Heliospheric Working Group
New WG-3: Data Archiving Working Group
Panel 1: High Energy Astrophysics Panel
Panel 2: Infrared/Submm Astronomy Panel

Whether to continue the Very Long Baseline Interferometry (VLBI) Panel will be decided after it reports to the IACG at the next meeting. IKI will host the next IACG meeting later in 1997. The new WG-1 activities will be defined by a team (with one member from each agency) that will report at the next IACG meeting. Future solar and planetary missions are to be included in the new WG-1. The new Solar Terrestrial-Heliospheric Working Group will have much the same membership as from the previous Working Groups-1, -2 and -3, replacing the structure that the IACG created ten years ago. This new WG-2 will ensure that the present IACG space science campaigns will be brought to a successful completion and that campaign results will be preserved in data bases available to a wide science community and published in peer reviewed journals such as the Journal of Geophysical Research. Dr. A. Pedersen will be the head of WG-2 for the next year.

One of the goals of the IACG is to make the Space Science Campaign data sets available to the entire scientific community for future research. To be successful in this goal, the new archiving effort will require support from all the agencies. The IACG, therefore, created a new Data Archiving Working Group (WG-3) to cover all the space science disciplines. The members of this WG and its charter are currently being defined. The heads of the new WG-1 and WG-3 have not been named at this time.

The Future of Space Physics Correlative Science

It was clear from this meeting that the interagency solar-terrestrial physics programs have produced a powerful fleet of missions that are returning a wealth of new observations of our solar-terrestrial environment. This international collaborative effort has been carried out during solar minimum. The next solar maximum will start approximately at the end of the decade, well within the expected lifetimes of most of the current solar-terrestrial mission fleet. Thus, this fleet can provide a unique and powerful tool for studying the solar-terrestrial system during the rise to solar maximum and at solar maximum. This provides an unprecedented opportunity for studying solar variability and its effects on the heliosphere and geospace environment. The former Working Groups-1 and -2 recommended to the IACG that the agencies keep the solar-terrestrial missions in operation through solar maximum. The IACG agreed with this recommendation.

Next Meeting

The IKI will host the next IACG meeting in Russia later in 1997.

Wesley Huntress (left) of the NASA Delegation and R. Bonnet of the ESA Delegation shake hands.

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Miranda Beall,, (301) 286-0162
Hughes STX, Code 633, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771, U.S.A.

Erin D. Gardner,, (301) 286-0163
Hughes STX, Code 633, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Greenbelt, MD 20771, U.S.A.

NASA home page GSFC home page GSFC organizational page

Author:Miranda Beall
Curators: Erin Gardner and Miranda Beall
Responsible Official: Dr. Joseph H. King, Code 633
Last Revised: 24 MAR 1997 [EDG]