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AIM (SMEX 9, Explorer 90)

AIM [Hampton University]

AIM (Aeronomy of Ice in the Mesosphere) is focused on the study of Polar Mesospheric Clouds (PMCs) that form about 80 km above the Earth's surface in summer and mostly in the polar regions.

The overall goal is to resolve why PMCs form and why they vary. AIM measures PMCs and the thermal, chemical and dynamical environment in which they form. This will allow the connection to be made between these clouds and the meteorology of the polar mesosphere.

AIM uses three instruments:

  • CDE (Cosmic Dust Experiment) to measure: Cosmic Dust Input
  • CIPS (Cloud Imaging and Particle Size) to measure: PMCs, Particle Sizes, Gravity Waves
  • SOFIE (Solar Occultation For Ice Experiment) to measure: H2O, NO, O3, CH4, CO2, Temp., PMCs

AIM operated until March 2023, when a decline in battery capacity rendered the spacecraft unable to conduct science operations.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Atmospheric science
Operator: NASA
Contractors: Orbital Sciences Corporation (OSC)
Equipment: CDE, CIPS, SOFIE
Configuration: LEOStar-2
Propulsion: ?
Power: Deployable solar array, batteries
Lifetime: 26 months (design); 15 years 10 months (achieved)
Mass: 200 kg
Orbit: 585 km × 600 km, 97.79
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
AIM (SMEX 9, Explorer 90) 2007-015A 25.04.2007 Va, L-1011 Pegasus-XL


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