Please make a donation to support Gunter's Space Page.
Thank you very much for visiting Gunter's Space Page. I hope that this site is useful and informative for you.
If you appreciate the information provided on this site, please consider supporting my work by making a simple and secure donation via PayPal. Please help to run the website and keep everything free of charge. Thank you very much.



AWE (Atmospheric Waves Experiment), is an atmospheric instrument to analyze gravity waves in a region of the upper atmosphere that can cause disruptions in radio and satellite communications as well as GPS to be placed on the ISS as a Mission of Opportunity under NASA's Explorer program.

From its location on the ISS, AWE will focus on colorful emissive layers in Earth's atmosphere, called airglow, to determine what combination of forces drive space weather in the upper atmosphere. This region was once thought to be affected only by the sun's ultraviolet light and particles, but more recent analyses have shown that gravity waves generated by weather patterns on Earth are also having an impact.

The lead organization for the project is Utah State University's Space Dynamics Laboratory.

Once launched, the AWE equipment will allow for the creation of a global map of gravity wave characteristics and how those waves correspond to ground-based sources like tropical storms and convection. These observations dovetail with other NASA missions such as the Global-scale Observations of the Limb and Disk, or GOLD, which launched in January 2018, and the ICON Ionospheric Explorer both of which seek to unravel different aspects of how terrestrial weather and space weather interact.

The experiment is expected to launch in December 2023 and will be in operation mounted to the outside of the ISS on ELC 1 for two years. NASA is providing $42 million for the project.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Research, atmosphere
Operator: Space Dynamics Laboratory
Contractors: Space Dynamics Laboratory
Configuration: Payload mounted on ISS
Propulsion: None
Power: via ISS
Lifetime: 2 years
Orbit: 400 km × 400 km, 51.6 (typical)
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
AWE N/A 10.11.2023 CCK LC-39A Falcon-9 v1.2 (Block 5) with Dragon CRS-29, ILLUMA-T, BEAK, Clark-sat 1


Further Explorer Missions of Opportunity (MoO) and International Missions (Int):

Missions of Opportunity: International Missions: Explorer Program

Cite this page: