This NASA-funded program to measure the time history of the nighttime E-region neutral winds was launched in June 2003 from Wallops Flight Facility, VA. In addition to collecting data to help researchers discover how these winds relate to the formation and descent of intermediate layers, E-Winds also performed the first measurements of the layer of the ion composition after it had descended below 120 km.
Absolute plasma density was measured on the instrumented payload and the three mother-daughter payloads using a Plasma Frequency Probe (PFP) and Plasma Sweeping Probe (PSP) instrument combination provided by SDL. As a backup plasma density measurement technique (and a means of data comparison), a Direct Current Probe (DCP) instrument was included in the SDL science instrumentation package. The PFP/PSP/DCP instrument suite is commonly referred to as the Plasma Impedance Probe (PIP). In a secondary science mission role, the PIP also measured plasma collisional frequencies, ion-ion resonance characteristics, and plasma temperature.