Magnetospheric Multiscale Science Mission Profile and Operations

The Magnetospheric Multiscale (MMS) mission and operations are designed to provide the maximum reconnection science. The mission phases are chosen to investigate reconnection at the dayside magnetopause and in the magnetotail. At the dayside, the MMS orbits are chosen to maximize encounters with the magnetopause in regions where the probability of encountering the reconnection diffusion region is high. In the magnetotail, the orbits are chosen to maximize encounters with the neutral sheet, where reconnection is known to occur episodically. Although this targeting is limited by engineering constraints such as total available fuel, high science return orbits exist for launch dates over most of the year. The tetrahedral spacecraft formation has variable spacing to determine the optimum separations for the reconnection regions at the magnetopause and in the magnetotail. In the specific science regions of interest, the spacecraft are operated in a fast survey mode with continuous acquisition of burst mode data. Later, burst mode triggers and a ground-based scientist in the loop are used to determine the highest quality data to downlink for analysis. This operations scheme maximizes the science return for the mission. Space Science Reviews Space Science Reviews Look
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Space Science Reviews
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