ACTIVE Sounding Rocket

Auroral Composition and Toroidal Ion Velocity Experiment (ACTIVE)
Launched successfully April 28, 1998 @ 07:10 CDT

The ACTIVE Sounding Rocket was launched on April 28, 1998, at 07:10:00 CDT from Churchill, Manitoba, carrying 3 experiments, two of which were led by Dr. Greg Garbe of the Institute for Space Research. The first of these was the demonstration model of the the Thermal Plasma Analyzer (TPA/DM) which was built and tested in the ISR. This unit measured the drift velocity distribution of different thermal ion species in 3 dimensions around the rocket. TPA/DM had a similar sensor head and identical electronics as the TPA instrument that was launched on its way to Mars aboard the Japanese PLANET-B satellite in the summer of 1998. Although the data analysis is still quite preliminary, we have determined that the TPA/DM did function during the flight. Only in the last seconds before impact did the sensor head melt off and and the instrument fell silent. The second instrument was a global positioning system (GPS) experiment comprising of three GPS receivers. These units were produced here in Calgary by Novatel Inc. The receivers provided both position and attitude information of the payload in real time. They showed that the payload reached an apogee of 315.6 km and travelled from the launch tower (58.734 Deg. N, 93.820 Deg. W) to an impact point ~520 km away (62.617 Deg. N, 99.356 Deg. W) in just over 10 minutes and 40 seconds. Greg Enno and Kaare Berg of the Department traveled to Churchill to support the instrument-payload integration and the flight itself. The third experiment was provided by the Trent University and the University of Saskatchewan and was a series of photometers which measured ozone concentrations and was similar to photometers that will be flown on the Swedish satellite ODIN. The rocket was a two stage vehicle. The first stage was a Terrier booster provided by NASA and the second stage was a Black Brant 9B provided by Bristol Aerospace in Winnipeg. Funding for the construction and launch of the ACTIVE mission was provided by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA).