Successful Start of Grand Challenge


GCI CUSP is an international research project between Norway, USA, Canada, and Japan involving 12 sounding rockets launched from Andøya and Ny-Ålesund between 2018 and 2020.

The basic idea behind the project is to gather scientists investigating phenomena related to the magnetosphere and Earth’s cusp regions. All participants share the collected research data between them.

The four sounding rockets were two Black Brant XIIA from Andøya in the NASA TRICE-2 mission and two Black Brant X from Ny-Ålesund in the NASA VISIONS-2 mission. The rockets were launched in pairs 120 seconds apart, reason being that one wish to measure any changes in the ionosphere between the first and second launch. In addition the rockets flew in different altitudes. VISIONS-2 and TRICE-2 didn’t carry identical payloads but both missions measured parameters related to the cusp region.

All four flights was deemed a success and hopefully marks the beginning of a fruitful GCI CUSP for scientists, engineers, data modellers as well as for the launch sites and ground based instrumentation supporting the project.

Launch Details

VISIONS-2 vehicle 1 was launched Dec 7th, 2018, 11:06 UTC from Ny-Ålesund, reached an apogee of 805 kilometers and the second followed at 11:08 UTC reaching an apogee of 600 kilometers. VISIONS-2 used Black Brant X vehicles.

The principal investigator for VISIONS-2 is Douglas Rowland from NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

TRICE-2 vehicle 1 was launched Dec 8th, 2018, 08:26 UTC from Andøya, reached an apogee of 1 042 kilometers and the second followed at 08:28 UTC reaching an apogee of 756 kilometers. TRICE-2 used Black Brant XIIA vehicles.

Principal investigator for the TRICE-2 mission is professor Craig Kletzing from the University of Iowa.

Launch Videos


More information

Please contact Kolbjørn Blix, VP Sub-Orbital, Andøya Space