Svalbard has a unique geographical location for space related studies, enabling direct or by-proxy measurements of how particles from the sun affects our near space environment. The University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) owns and operates to large research installations for studies of processes in the upper atmosphere; the Kjell Henriksen Observatory (KHO) - one of the largest optical observatories in the world for studies of the mesosphere and ionosphere (in the altitude region of 60 - 1000 km), and SuperDARN - a radar with a very large field of view over the polar cap for studies of particle velocities (convection) in the ionosphere. SuperDARN is also a part of a global network of similar radars. The Infraspace project is very important in order to invest in new and modern technology. The project is used to buy new instrumentation for studies of the mesosphere, to upgrade existing instrumentation (such as new electronics, new detectors with better sensitivity than before) and calibration instruments for absolute calibration of all our optical instruments. Data from our ground-based research installations are used by researcher from all over the world ? not only in terms of basic research of the upper atmosphere, but also in terms of applied research such as studies of satellite based systems for navigation and positioning (GNSS).
There is a solid foundation for space-related research infrastructure on Svalbard. In the vicinity of Longyearbyen, EISCAT operates an incoherent scatter radar system, UNIS operates the SPEAR heating facility, as well as the optical field observatory the Kjell Henriksen Observatory (KHO).
This cluster of ground-based instrumentation draws considerable attention from both national and international researchers. Svalbard is fortuitously located beneath the magnetospheric cusp region, enabling direct or by-p roxy measurements of dayside magnetospheric/ionospheric phenomena, and
polar cap and auroral related phenomena on the nightside.
InfraSpace will be used to:
a) construct new ground-based instrumentation for measurements in the arctic mesosphere (middle atmosphere) and ionosphere (upper atmosphere), b) invest in optical calibration equipment and
c) upgrade existing instrumentation.
The bulk of the costs in the budget will come in parts a) and b). The research infrastructure will be part of a national a nd international collaboration network of space-related research, and the only of its kind in Europe. The total cost of InfraSpace will be on the order of 8 MNoK, over a timeframe of 3 years.