ECOMA 2008

ECOMA (Existence and Charge state Of Meteoric smoke particles in the middle Atmosphere) investigates properties of meteoric smoke particles in the upper mesosphere, their interaction with the ambient ionospheric D-region, and their relation to mesospheric ice particles (i.e., manifest as noctilucent clouds and polar mesosphere summer echoes).

Campaign Status

 Saturday 12 July 2008
Countdown began at 07:00, local time, in a great weather and only partial cloudy. The third ECOMA rocket was elevated to vertical position, winds were good and sea state acceptable for recovery. ALOMAR went online long enough for the PI to give the GO for launch.

ECOMA launched at 10:46 UT, reached an apogee of 123 km and had a nominal flight. After splash-down, the payload section was quickly recovered and is currently heading for shore.

This is the last update in this campaign. Thank you all for watching.
Today´s Photos

 Friday 11 July 2008
Countdown began at 09:00, local time. ECOMA was elevated, the recovery vessel reported good sea state and winds were calm. But ALOMAR was offline due to clouds. Operation was cancelled at 15:30, local time.


 Tuesday 8 - Thursday 10 July 2008
After the successful recovery of the second ECOMA payload, the teams spent the days preparing for the final launch. PI decided to go for a day-launch this time. Countdown began at 09:00, local time, Thursday 10th. However, thick clouds prevented ALOMAR from measuring and the operation was cancelled at 17:30.


 Monday 7 July 2008
Countdown began at 20:00, local time. The recovery vessel reported excellent conditions for recovery. The high altitude winds were inside safety limits and science conditions were as desired. The second ECOMA rocket launched at 23:30, local time, and climbed to an apogee at about 125 km. After splash-down it was located, recovered and brought back to shore.
Today´s Photos

 Sunday 6 July 2008
Countdown for the second ECOMA rocket began as usual at 20:00, local time. However, the recovery vessel reported NO-GO conditions for recovery and high altitude winds also exceeded safety limits. Operations was cancelled at 03:30, local time, despite excellent and interesting science conditions.
Today´s Photos

 Saturday 5 July 2008
Countdown began as usual at 20:00, local time. The recovery vessel steamed out to the standby-position, and ECOMA was elevated to vertical position. Altitude winds, however, were to great, and sea state was eventually NO-GO for recovery. Operation was cancelled at 01:30, local time.
Today´s Photos

 Friday 4 July 2008
Due to NO-GO conditions for ECOMA recovery, it was decided to go for a Viper IIIA launch tonight. Countdown began at 20:00, local time. However, the operation was cancelled at 22:30, local time, due to powerful high altitude winds, and low clouds preventing ALOMAR lidar measurements.


 Thursday 3 July 2008
Countdown began at 20:00, local time. The recovery vessel steamed out to the stand-by position, and ECOMA was elevated to vertical position.

The operation was scrubbed at 01:30, local time, due to NO-GO conditions for recovery and due to clouds over ALOMAR (lidars couldn´t measure to verify the desired launch conditions).
Today´s Photos

 Tuesday 1 & Wednesday 2 July 2008
The days were spent preparing the second ECOMA payload for launch. A new countdown will start Thursday night.


 Monday 30 June 2008
Countdown began 09:00, local time, and shortly afterwards a CRV-7 test rocket was launched for the radar team. Monitoring the science conditions, the PI decided to go for launch.

ECOMA lifted-off in beautiful weather conditions, and reached the target altitude. The payload landed safely in the ocean and was picked up by the recovery vessel. It´s expected to be back on shore sometime tonight.
Today´s Photos

 Sunday 29 June 2008
The first ECOMA payload was integrated with the second stage motor, transported out to the launcher where it joined the Nike first stage motor.
A preflight meeting was conducted, along with a practice countdown which included the launch of a CRV-7 test rocket.
Today´s Photos

 Saturday 28 June 2008
This years first ECOMA payload was completed tonight, and transported down to the launch area where it will join the improved orion motor which will power it after the booster has been jetisoned during flight.
Today´s Photos

 Friday 28 June 2008
Welcome to the first update of the ECOMA-2008 sounding rocket campaign. The teams have arrived at ARR and are busy preparing their equipment and payloads for the opening of the launch window on Monday.
Today´s Photos

Three sounding rockets will be launched, closely coordinated with groundbased measurements such as the ALOMAR RMR lidar, the ALOMAR radar family, and the EISCAT VHF and UHF radars in Tromsø.

Principal Investigator is Prof. Dr. Markus Rapp, Institute for Atmospheric Physics (IAP) Kühlungsborn, University of Rostock, Germany. The Co-investigator is Prof. Dr. Ulf-Peter Hoppe, Norwegian Defence Research Establishment (FFI) and University of Tromsø.

Earth´s atmosphere is hit by tonnes of meteoric material which largely ablates in the altitude range between 70 and 100 km. Meteoric smoke particles have been suspected to play a major role in a variety of atmospheric processes.

Despite the obvious scientific interest in meteoric smoke particles, very little is known about their properties - mainly because of the tiny dimensions and low densities make them hard to detect with optical instruments. The ECOMA-project aims to make in-situ measurements by flying payloads through the smoke particles.

The primary scientific goals are to:
  1. Determine the number density and altitude distribution of meteoric smoke particles in the middle atmosphere.
  2. Determine the charge state of meteoric smoke particles and identify the dominant charging mechanism.
  3. Clarify the role of meteoric smoke particles for the nucleation of mesospheric ice particles, i.e,. noctilucent clouds (NLCs) and polar mesosphere summer echoes (PMSEs).
  4. Study the reaction of the meteor smoke layer to a fresh input of meteoric material during a meteor shower.
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