A new experiment concept has been proposed for the shuttle/tethered satellite system missions, which can provide high-resolution, global density mappings of certain ionospheric species. The technique utilizes bistatic LIDAR to take advantage of the unique dual platform configuration offered by these missions. A tuned, shuttle-based laser is used to excite a column of the atmosphere adjacent to the tethered satellite, while triangulating photometric detectors on the satellite are employed to measure the fluorescence from sections of the column. The fluorescent intensity at the detectors is increased about six decades over both ground-based and monostatic shuttle-based LIDAR sounding of the same region. In addition, the orbital motion of the shuttle provides for quasiglobal mapping unattainable with ground-based observations. Since this technique provides such vastly improved resolution on a synoptic scale, many important middle atmospheric studies, heretofore untenable, may soon be addressed.
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