The Wind Imaging Interferometer (WINDII) on the Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite: A 20 year perspective


The Wind Imaging Interferometer (WINDII) was launched on the NASA\textquoterights Upper Atmosphere Research Satellite on 12 September 1991 and operated until 2003. Its role in the mission was to measure vector winds in the Earth\textquoterights atmosphere from 80 to 110 km, but its measurements extended to nearly 300 km. The approach employed was to measure Doppler shifts from a suite of visible region airglow lines emitted over this altitude range. These included atomic oxygen O(1S) and O(1D) lines, as well as lines in the OH Meinel (8,3) and O2 Atmospheric (0,0) bands. The instrument employed was a Doppler Michelson Interferometer that measured the Doppler shift as a phase shift of the cosinusoidal interferogram generated by single airglow lines. An extensive validation program was conducted after launch to confirm the accuracy of the measurements. The dominant wind field, the first one observed by WINDII, was that of the migrating diurnal tide at the equator. The overall most notable WINDII contribution followed from this: determining the influence of dynamics on the transport of atmospheric species. Currently, nonmigrating tides are being studied in the thermosphere at both equatorial and high latitudes. Other aspects investigated included solar and geomagnetic influences, temperatures from atmospheric-scale heights, nitric oxide concentrations, and the occurrence of polar mesospheric clouds. The results of these observations are reviewed from a perspective of 20 years. A future perspective is then projected, involving more recently developed concepts. It is intended that this description will be helpful for those planning future missions.

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Reviews of Geophysics
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