March 30, 2001

IMAGE Celebrates Its First Birthday!
IMAGE celebrated its first birthday on March 25, and IMAGE team members are looking forward to a second year of exciting observations. Results from the first year of the IMAGE mission were published in the January 26th issue of Science and in the March 19th issue of Geophysical Research Letters. In addition, IMAGE is featured in the April issue of Scientific American, in an article on space storms by IMAGE Principal Investigator, Jim Burch.

July 21, 2000

FUV/WIC Provides Dramatic Look at July 15-16 Aurora
The FUV/WIC instrument observed highly dynamic aurora activity during the major geomagnetic storm that occurred July 15 and 16. Still images and an MPEG movie of the aurora as viewed with WIC are available on this web site.

June 23, 2000

Real-time Auroral Images from FUV/WIC Available On-Line
Thanks to a coordinated effort by the IMAGE FUV team, the HESSI project, and NOAA, near-real-time auroral images obtained with the FUV Wideband Imaging Camera are now available on line at the FUV web site. The data are received by the HESSI antenna at the University of California, Berkeley, and are processed by the Berkeley FUV team in real time. The images are updated every 60 seconds. To see the images, go to the FUV web site at Berkeley and click on "Latest WIC Image."

June 13, 2000

IMAGE FUV Camera Captures Aurora Triggered by the June 6 CME
The FUV Wideband Imaging Camera on board the IMAGE spacecraft has provided dramatic images of auroral activity associated with the coronal mass ejection (CME) that erupted from the Sun on June 6 and impacted the Earth's magnetosphere two days later. The images reveal the highly dynamic nature and intricate structure of the aurora during disturbed conditions. (Stills and an MPEG movie of the June 8 aurora)

May 19, 2000

RPI Antenna Deployment Complete; IMAGE Sees Plasmasphere, Proton Aurora
The Radio Plasma Imager's two 10-meter axial antennas were successfully deployed earlier this week, and the four 250-meter radial wire booms are fully extended. RPI will now undergo a two- week engineering check-out phase before beginning full science operations. The neutral atom and ultraviolet imagers are performing nominally and are acquiring good images, including the first global images of the Earth's plasmasphere and the proton aurora. (IMAGE "first light" images)

May 2, 2000

IMAGE Has Begun to Acquire Data
First images are gradually being obtained by all the instruments. All instruments and spacecraft systems are working very well. The RPI antennas are out to 203 meters. Excellent multiple soundings of the plasmapause have been obtained from distances up to 2 Earth radii outside the plasmapause. Images of the plasmasphere and trapped radiation are being obtained by EUV and HENA, respectively. MENA and LENA are bringing up their high voltages, with full science levels expected by next week. FUV WIC, SI, and GEO are all obtaining images. By the fourth week in May, IMAGE should be in full science mode and there should be plenty of data to work on.

April 20, 2000

RPI Radial Antenna Deployment Initiated
The deployment of the RPI radial antennas began today at approximately 1500 UTC and continued at a rate of 1 cm per second until the antennas had been extended to ~125 meters or half their length. Following this initial phase, deployment will continue over the next three weeks in smaller increments. This "micro-deploy" strategy will make it possible to maintain the spacecraft spin rate close to the nominal 0.5 rpm and will allow instrument high-voltage turn-on and science operations to begin ahead of schedule. When fully deployed, each of the four 0.3-mm thick beryllium-copper antennas will extend 250 meters from the spacecraft forming two orthogonal dipole antennas that measure 500 meters--or 1640 feet--tip to tip.

April 4, 2000

MENA Turned On Successfully
The turn on of MENA in its low-voltage mode was completed this morning, and a short functional test was performed, including pulsers. The MENA lead investigator reports that "all elements of the MENA imager tested so far appear nominal." MENA is the last of the IMAGE instruments to be turned on.

April 3, 2000

IMAGE IOC Continues Smoothly
All IMAGE spacecraft systems are working as predicted, and in many cases better. The deckplate temperatures are steady at 10 degrees C, so there has been no need to use heaters. The battery is charging properly. There have been no single-event upsets. All instruments except MENA have been turned on successfully in their low-voltage modes. MENA will be turned on tomorrow, as planned.

March 28, 2000

IMAGE Achieves Targeted Orbit with Near-Perfect Accuracy; Instrument Checkout Proceeding Smoothly
Comparison of the actual and targeted IMAGE orbit parameters shows that the Delta II placed the IMAGE observatory into its targeted elliptical polar orbit with near-perfect accuracy (targeted values are given in parentheses):

  • Apogee Altitude (km): 46,004 km (45,923 km)
  • Perigee Altitude: 1000.0 km (1000.0 km)
  • Inclination: 90.01 deg. (90.00 deg.)
  • Argument of perigee: 319.86 deg. (320.00 deg.)
  • RAAN: 192.74 deg. (192.74 deg)
Instrument turn-on and check-out is proceeding smoothly.

March 25, 2000

IMAGE in Orbit!!!
The IMAGE spacecraft was launched on schedule at 12:34:43 PST (20:34:43 UTC) today from Vandenberg AFB. The launch vehicle was a Boeing Delta II 7326. Weather conditions were good, all systems performed nominally, and the launch went off flawlessly. Approximately 55 minutes after launch, the spacecraft separated from the Star 37 third stage and entered its elliptical polar orbit. The spacecraft health is good. Now begins the 40-day IOC--the initial orbital checkout--period, during which the instruments will be turned on and checked out and the RPI radial antennas, which measure 500 meters tip to tip, will be deployed.

March 7, 2000

IMAGE Launch Approved for March 25
After a delay for evaluation of a critical part, the IMAGE has been given the go-ahead for a launch on Saturday, March 25. The 8-minute launch window will open at 12:34:43 PST (20:34:43 UTC).

March 1, 2000

IMAGE Launch Delayed
The IMAGE launch has been delayed to allow additional testing of a critical part. Launch will now take place at the earliest on March 22.

February 25, 2000

IMAGE Successfully Mated to Third Stage
The IMAGE spacecraft was successfully mated to the Star 37 third stage yesterday. The combination will be lifted to the top of the first and second stages early on Monday, February 28, and the instrument aperture covers will be removed a week later, on Monday, March 6. At this point, everything is on track for a March 15 launch, with the launch window opening at 13:14 local time (21:14 UT).

February 21, 2000

IMAGE Launch Set for March 15
The IMAGE Team was given permission today to proceed with launch on March 15. The IMAGE launch was originally scheduled for February 15, but was delayed to accommodate a series of additional readiness reviews. Because of the loss of the Mars Polar Lander, such additional reviews are being required by NASA of all missions scheduled for launch in 2000. The IMAGE spacecraft will be mated to the third stage of the Delta II launch vehicle this coming Thursday, February 24.


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