On April 10, 2022, NASA chartered an Independent Review Board to review the overall architecture and technical concept for NASA’s Geospace Dynamics Constellation, or GDC – a mission to study how the giant magnetic bubble around Earth, the magnetosphere, interacts with Earth’s upper atmosphere.
NASA regularly uses such review boards to review strategic missions for robustness and to ensure maximum return on NASA’s investment.
GDC is a NASA Heliophysics mission that will observe the coupling between Earth’s magnetosphere and the ionosphere-thermosphere system – and how that coupled system responds to energy streaming in from the Sun and the rest of space. GDC will be the first mission to study these effects on a global scale by using a constellation of spacecraft that will allow for concurrent, multi-point observations.
The Independent Review Board is tasked with providing an assessment and recommendations that maximize the probability of mission success – scientifically and technically – as well as how best to enhance the larger NASA heliophysics portfolio. The board comprises experts in relevant science, technical, and programmatic fields and is expected to produce a final report and conclude its work around August 2022. Orlando Figueroa, retired deputy center director for science and technology at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and Maura E. Hagan, professor emeritus of physics at Utah State University in Logan, Utah, were selected as co-chairs to lead the board and together offer decades of experience in ionosphere-thermosphere system research and NASA program leadership.