Scintillation Observations and Response of the

Ionosphere to Electrodynamics

The SORTIE mission is a 6U NASA CubeSat mission with team members from ASTRA, Air Force Research Laboratory of Kirtland AFB, University of Texas, Dallas, COSMIAC, and Boston College. 


The overall goal of the mission is to study the complex challenges in discovering the wave-like plasma perturbations in the ionosphere.

Perturbations in the ionospheric plasma density (shown below) most frequently appear in the form of discrete regions of waves. At low and middle latitudes, these perturbations are thought to provide the seeds for larger amplitude perturbations that may evolve non-linearly to produce irregularities. However, there is currently no comprehensive atlas of measurements describing the global spatial or temporal distribution of wave-like perturbations in the ionosphere. 


Vertical ion velocity and plasma density perturbations from a C/NOFS orbit

SORTIE provides the initial spectrum of wave perturbations which are the starting point for the RF calculation, provides measured electric fields which determine the magnitude of the instability growth rate near where plasma bubbles are generated, and will provide initial observations of the irregularities in plasma density which result from instability growth.