Welcome to the Spacecraft Working Group (ScWG)

The Spacecraft Working Group (ScWG) works with spacecraft missions to maximize collaboration with SuperDARN. The group primarily makes requests to the Scheduling Working Group for time on the network that benefits certain missions. Scheduling is currently being performed for the NASA Magnetospheric Multiscale Mission (MMS) and Van Allen Probes missions, for the ESA Cluster mission, and soon for the ISAS/JAXA/ISEE Exploration of energization and Radiation in Geospace (ERG) mission.

Jim Wild of Lancaster University is the group chair. Direct queries to Jim or to Kevin Sterne or Rob Fear.

What's new

Kazuo Shiokawa has sent around a note with a description of thef the early conjunctions of the ERG satellite, which is due to be launched on December 20, 2016. See the ERG section of this web site.

ESA Swarm mission call

ESA Swarm Call for Ideas for new data products and services

This announcement is to solicit ideas for new data products and services for the European Space Agency's Swarm constellation mission.

The three satellites, launched in late 2013, are currently measuring the best-ever multi-point survey of Earth's geomagnetic field and associated plasma environment.

This call is directed at enhancing the scientific return of Swarm during the remainder of its nominal mission, ending in March 2018, and potentially beyond.

The new concepts may be based on Swarm data only, and/or merged with data from other satellites or ground-based measurements that will enhance the scientific return of the mission.

A full updated description of the Swarm current data products is available on the Data Quality page.

The selection and development of new Swarm data products and services is being carried out through a two-step process, beginning with this open call for ideas. As a second step, selected ideas will then be the basis for open Invitation(s) to Tender (ITT) for Implementation Contracts to support the development of each new product/service and possibly to sustain their operations.

Interested individuals or groups are encouraged to submit new Swarm product/service ideas by 1 July 2016, via email to . Proposals will be reviewed by the Swarm DISC Board of Representatives (SDBR) presently composed by representatives of the Swarm product algorithm providers. The SDBR will report the proposal assessment to the respective point of contact. Concepts may target, for example, the enhancement of an existing Swarm scientific product, the implementation of a web-service to generate new products, or the generation of validated products merging data from other satellites.

Please follow the proposal template for submissions.

Following the review of the submitted ideas, the competitive selection ITT process and subsequent implementation of the contracts will be managed by the Swarm Data, Innovation and Science Cluster (Swarm DISC) - an ESA-funded consortium led by the Technical University of Denmark - under the supervision of ESA. As a rough order of magnitude, the budget of a contract may vary from one-half Full-Time Equivalent (FTE) to one FTE. Please note that the present call for ideas does not imply that a contract will necessarily be placed in the second step.

ITTs for Implementation Contracts are expected to be announced in September 2016, with relevant proposals due approximately one month thereafter. The implementation ITTs will only be open to ESA member states participating to EOEP.

Eventual new data products may become part of the Swarm data distribution, which is open and available to all. More information is available on the Data Access page.

Any further questions can be directed to .


Starting in late September 2015, SuperDARN started a new campaign in order to support data being collected on the Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission launched by NASA. In addition, the SuperDARN network has been scheduling modes to support new-moon periods over North America to collaborate with all-sky imagers in this area. Lastly, the SuperDARN network continues to identify and schedule periods where the Van Allen probe footprints are within SuperDARN radar field-of-views.

For support of the MMS mission, the SuperDARN radar network has been requested to run the high-time resolution camping beam mode that originated to support THEMIS operations. This mode is requested for each time the MMS satellites are crossing the magnetopause and generally lasting for 12 hours at a time. The plan is to continue requesting this mode through this first phase of magnetopause crossings into early February 2016.

On a monthly basis Rob Fear and Kevin Sterne put together a spreadsheet with the times of significant satellite passes indicated and the associated radars. This spreadsheet is distributed to a small subgroup of the ScWG for comment. Once the spreadsheet has been finalized, it is passed on to Gareth as head of the Scheduling Working Group to be worked into the complete schedule. Often some iteration is required between the two working groups in order to balance priorities. There is an opportunity for the community to comment when Gareth circulates the draft schedule (usually three months in advance).If you want to be keenly involved in the scheduling from the S/c side, let Kevin or Rob know.

Basic Information

The current membership of the ScWG is:

Jim Wild, Lancaster University (Chair)
Kevin Sterne, Virginia Tech
Rob Fear, University of Southampton
Mike Ruohoniemi, Virginia Tech
Hori Tomo, STEL Nagoya University

The SuperDARN mailing lists are maintained by the University of Leicester. An archive of the spacecraft working group mailing list can be found at:

http://lists.le.ac.uk/mailman/private/darn-space/(external link) (Only available to members of the darn-space list)

As explained above, monthly communications regarding requests for scheduling time during satellite conjunctions are shared by a limited-circulation emailing list - contact Kevin Sterne or Rob Fear to be added to this mailing list.

Supplemental Material

Tasks & Issues

  • Questions have been raised about the extent of coordination with satellite missions and the usefulness of data collected in modes (e.g., THEMIS with its single camping beam) that were designed to support satellite missions. To help answer these questions, a directly editable Google doc has been started at the link below to list publications based on satellite/SuperDARN coordination and those using data from satellite-derived radar modes (THEMIS, Cluster, Van Allen Probes, ERG). You are asked to contribute.
  • SuperDARN - Spacecraft Publication List(external link)
  • Begin discussions of coordination/collaborations of ERG satellite

THEMIS nightside runs, Oct 2015 - Mar 2016

Synopsis: Last year (2014-2015) we ran THEMIS mode during new moon periods for 8-12 hours a day over about 10 days. We plan to do the same for 2015-2016 with a focus on both MMS and THEMIS conjunctions. The new moon periods peak on

Oct 13 / Nov 11 / Dec 11 / Jan 10 / Feb 8 / Mar 9.

NEW > Bea and Toshi have requested (July, 2015) that certain radars switch their THEMIS camping beam. These are
CVE from 8 to 10
CVW from 12 to 14
ADW from 7 to 12
> Bill and Simon agreed (Jul 22) to switch over their camping beams

Record of 2014-2015 dark moon campaign season:
Oct 19 - Oct 27 0200-1000 UT
Nov 18 - Nov 20 0000-1200 UT
Nov 21 - Nov 26 0000-0600 UT ST*: 0600-1200
Dec 17 - Dec 26 0000-1200 UT
Jan 15 - Jan 24 0000-1200 UT

For reference, here are the camping beams for the radars, ordered by latitude:

PGR 12 SAS 6 KAP 7
ADE 7 / ADW 7 CVW 14 / CVE 8 FHW 10 / FHE 10 BKS 15 (new as of ~ Dec. 2014)


Satellite plots

Rob Fear has graciously made up plots that show Cluster, THEMIS, ARTEMIS and MMS all together and has broken them up by month at:

http://www.southampton.ac.uk/~rcf2c13/footprints/(external link)


Launch is now expected on December 20, 2016.

A satellite mission by the Japanese Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to monitor Earth's radiation belts. Launch is expected later in 2016. The inclination of this satellite mission will be higher than that of the Van Allen Probes, leading to apogee conjunctions at L values of 6-7. See:

http://global.jaxa.jp/projects/sat/erg/(external link)

Email from Kazuo Shiokawa (Dec. 8) concerning early campaigns>

We developed a mail aliases "pwing_all@stdb2.isee.nagoya-u.ac.jp" as the mailing list of the PWING campaign observation. The people in the attached list are included in this mailing list.

The bottom panel of the attached figure shows the conjunction local times between the ERG satellite and a ground station (Athabasca, Canada) after the Dec.20-2016 ERG launch. Stations at other longitudes are also same.
As you can see, the ERG conjunction time is in the postmidnight-dawn sector in February-March 2017, and pre-midnight-dusk sector in August-October 2017. Then it goes to dayside sector. Since the nominal mission lifetime of ERG is ~1 year, the next March 2017 is the unique chance to make morningside conjugate measurements between ground optical instruments and ERG.

Looking at this plot, we are considering to have the first campaign in
March 2017, and if possible in April 2017 too. Then we can have another
campaign in October 2017. For antactic station, June 2017 would be
good for nighttime conjugate measurements.

This orbit is subject to change after the launch. The final orbit will become
clear around the end of January 2017 after all the ERG manuver is finished.

These are the current status of ERG-ground conjugate campaign.
Your comments and suggestions are welcome.

Best regards,

Planing for radar modes in support of ERG:

During the SuperDARN 2016 Workshop Hori-san had discussions leading to the revisions in the linked document that are indicated by red letters:

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Zgt8Eus3A-ZDJdqIzmeIsiENqJBfkVdsoW5wyym7Auc/edit?usp=sharing(external link)


The first dayside campaign has ended. Note that magnetopause crossings took place within the Scandinavian sector, limiting conjunctions with the SuperDARN radars to the CUTLASS radars. Two periods are known to be under analysis, Dec. 10 (Sun Lee, NASA/GSFC) and Dec. 15 (Akimasa Ieda, ISEE), both in 2015. The first tail campaign is scheduled for March - September of 2016. The mission will return to the dayside in the fall of 2016.

Toshi had previously proposed that '...the THEMIS-MMS coordination starting this winter...will provide the first simultaneous observations of dayside and nightside transients with dense ground-based observation networks...The proposed campaign period is January 5-15, 2016, by considering the MMS over Svalbard near noon and THEMIS over North America near midnight during new moon days.' Another period of interest (probably with an AMISR run coordinated with Mike Nicolls) is December 24th.

Rob Fear has issued a set of provisional footpoint plots extending from 01-Aug-2015 to 02-Sep-2017 and placed the question about suitable radar operating modes on the agenda for discussion at the SuperDARN workshop. Rob’s MMS footpoint plots are available at:
http://www.southampton.ac.uk/~rcf2c13/footprints/(external link)

Supplemental Materials

Significant points:

Sep 2015 - Feb 2016: 1st magnetopause campaign with a 24-hr orbital period, THEMIS in the tail
May 2016 - Sep 2016: 1st tail campaign with apogee of 12 Re
Oct 2016 - May 2017: 2nd magnetopause campaign with apogee raised for an orbital period of ~3 days
Jun 2017 - Aug 2017: 2nd tail campaign

Recall that MMS is focused on reconnection physics with high spatial and temporal resolution. SuperDARN has a body of work in the ionospheric imaging of reconnection that utilized higher time resolution modes.

The NASA MMS was launched on March, 2015 and began its Science Phase in September. Conjunctions between MMS and THEMIS have been planned for the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 winter seasons. A description of the science mission of MMS can be found at
http://mms.gsfc.nasa.gov/science.html(external link)


MONTH: August 2016

01:00 — 01:12
02:00 — 02:12
03:00 — 03:12
04:00 — 04:12
12:18 — 13:06
13:18 — 14:06
21:18 — 22:06
Total: 84h (3d 12h)
Total priority (**): 0h (0d 0h)

RADARS: All SuperDARN radars

CLASS (Special time, Discretionary time): Common Time THEMIS

INSTITUTE: Virginia Tech

PIs: On behalf of spacecraft working group at the request of the
SuperDARN team of PIs

SCIENTIST: Kevin Sterne (Virginia Tech) on behalf of the
SuperDARN spacecraft working group.

COLLABORATORS (Outside of SD): The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission community

SuperDARN conjunctions with the MMS and THEMIS missions

The above intervals are requested to support MMS and THEMIS satellite observations at or near apogee. In these cases the THEMIS satellites are approaching or crossing the average magnetopause location while MMS is approaching the inner tail region.

The objective of the experiment is to support the investigations
carried out by the MMS research community.

(Supporting campaigns, instrumentation, geophysical conditions): These
intervals have been identified as times when the satellites are approaching or crossing the average magnetopause location. The conjunctions cover SuperDARN radars in both hemispheres.



Default mode: In order to record high time resolution, THEMISSCAN is requested to run on all radars. This mode has a camping beam which is sounded on every 6 seconds. The scanning scheme is such that the the field of view scan is interleaved with the camping beam.

PIs/schedulers are welcome to adapt the mode for the geometry for any
conjunctions as they see fit (e.g. by camping beam). See
footprint plots at http://www.southampton.ac.uk/~rcf2c13/footprints/(external link) .