HiWind was the first balloon borne Fabry-Perot interferometer designed to measure summer time polar cap thermospheric neutral winds. Thermospheric wind measurements are critically needed for space weather research. HiWind was launched June 14, 2011 from Kiruna, Sweden. The project is supported by NASA grant NNX08AV35G from Geospace Science Program (part of Heliophysics Research program). For more information please contact principal investigator Qian Wu (qwu@ucar.edu).

HiWind gondala image
HiWind instrument during final flight preparations in Kiruna, Sweden, June, 2011. Solar panels shown are continuously positioned to face the sun during flight to provide power for the instrument and shade critical areas of the payload from intense solar radiation. A large radiator at the rear of the payload allows precise thermal control of sensitive components inside the instrument. Pointing information is provided via differential GPS and a sun detector developed by NASA to drive a motorized rotator between the payload and the balloon. The balloon, rotator, and recovery parachute attach to the triangular fitting shown at the top of the payload.

Scientific Objectives:

  • To measure summer time polar cap thermospheric neutral winds
  • To study the ionosphere and thermosphere interaction in the polar cap during the summer
  • To understand the Joule heating in the high latitude region which has a great impact on thermosphere global circulation
  • To provide a better understanding of the energy transfer process from the solar wind to magnetosphere, ionosphere and thermosphere
  • The observational results will have a great impact on space weather research and help to predict the ionosphere variation related to the thermosphere motion.
HiWind Launch Balloon image
HiWind launch preparation.