INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION IN THE GEOTAIL PROGRAM
Institute of Space and Astronautical Science
To investigate the geomagnetic tail region of the magnetosphere, the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) undertook a joint project to develop, launch, and operate a scientific satellite designated Geotail satellite. The Geotail mission was to measure energy flow and transformation in the magnetotail to increase understanding of fundamental magnetospheric processes, including the physics of the magnetopause, the plasma sheet, and reconnection and neutral line formation. To conduct these measurements, Geotail took two orbit phases: a nightside double lunar swingby orbit to distances of 220 Re and a low inclination orbit at geocentric distances of about 10 to 50 Re and then to 30 Re. The Geotail satellite was designed and developed by ISAS and was launched by NASA by a Delta II in July 1992.
In the mission planning phase, the ISAS team was led by A. Nishida and the NASA team by J.K. Alexander and S.D. Shawhan. Valuable advice and guidance were offered by T. Obayashi, M. Oda, H. Oya, and F.L. Scarf. In the spacecraft development phase the executive members of the team were A. Nishida, K.T. Uesugi, T. Mukai, I. Nakatani, and I. Kimura at ISAS and S.D. Shawhan, K. Sizemore, R. Tatum, M. Grant, and M. Acuna at NASA.
2.0 Historical Background
In the late 1970s, a working group was formed to draw a plan of a space program to study the near-Earth plasma environment comprehensively. The report of this working group, published in April 1979, defined the goals of this program, named OPEN (Origin of Plasmas in the Earth 's Neighborhood), so as to (1) assess the mass, momentum, and energy flows through the geospace, (2) improve our understanding of the plasma processes, and (3) assess the importance to the terrestrial environment of variations in energy input to the atmosphere. The membership of 19 included 2 from Europe (Geiss and Haerendel) and 1 from Japan (Nishida) but was overwhelmingly American.
The OPEN program was to consist of a fleet of four spacecraft, IPL (Interplanetary Physics Laboratory), GTL (Geomagnetic Tail Laboratory), PPL (Polar Plasma Laboratory), and EML (Equatorial Magnetosphere Laboratory). However, even four spacecraft are not sufficient to conduct comprehensive monitoring of the key regions of the geospace. For example, the near-Earth region of the magnetotail was known to be the site of the near-Earth reconnection, which drives magnetospheric substorm, but none of these spacecraft could cover the magnetotail in the distance range of 12 to 80 Re. (One might suspect that this omission was not accidental but reflected the critical views against the near-Earth reconnection model, which was held by some influential scientists around that time.)
Hence Nishida decided to propose a complementary mission, OPEN-J, as a Japanese national program. OPEN-J was to focus on the studies of the dynamics of the near-Earth tail region, and the orbit elements were tailored for this objective: Apogee and inclination were to be 20 Re and 0, respectively. The launch was to be made by an M-type launcher of ISAS with enhanced upper-stage capability. OPEN and OPEN-J teams kept close contact, and representatives of the OPEN-J team attended meetings of the OPEN science working group (founded in January 1982) regularly.
The OPEN program, however, was not supported inside NASA. The principal difficulty was the large size of the budget (for the FY-1985 new start, $730 million in real dollars or $400 million in FY-1981 dollars), and the U.S. team was strongly advised by the NASA Office of Space Science and Applications management (headed by B.I. Edelson) to seek international cooperation and reduce the cost. This led the project manager (K. Sizemore) and project scientist (J.K. Alexander) of OPEN to visit ISAS
in May 1983 and propose a merger of the two programs. The essence of the collaboration was to (1) replace one of the OPEN spacecraft with OPEN-J, (2) install U.S. instruments on OPEN-J in addition to Japanese instruments, (3) launch OPEN-J with the Space Transportation System (STS) (as the space shuttle was then called), and (4) provide in principle the obtained data to the OPEN science community.
After a few months of negotiations a mutually agreeable plan was reached, and a draft memorandum of agreement between NASA/OPEN and ISAS/OPEN-J science team representatives was signed on September 6, 1983. According to this plan OPEN-J and GTL were to be combined and the orbit was to consist of a sequence of two phases: GTL-type distant tail orbit and OPEN-J-type near-Earth tail orbit. Points (1) through (4) above were also included. This agreement defined the Geotail program as it stands now, the only change having been the replacement of the launch vehicle from the STS to an Expendable Launch Vehicle (ELV), which was officially chosen to be Delta II) following the Challenger accident in January 1986. This change could be made with minimal impact because the development of Geotail was to start from FY-1986 (starting from April 1986), whereas the conceptual design was performed in FY-1985.
In the international arena involving the European Space Agency (ESA), a joint ESA/ISAS/NASA solar-terrestrial science meeting was held in Washington in late September 1983. As a result the OPEN program was reorganized in 1984 into the International Solar-Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) program, which consisted of Wind (formerly IPL), Polar (formerly PPL), Geotail, SOHO, and Cluster. Equator (formerly EML) was sacrificed until it was revived as Equator-S in 1997 with German leadership. Interball satellites of the Russian Space Agency have also joined the fleet in the framework of the Inter-Agency Consultative Group for space science (IACG). The overall program comprising all these missions was called IASTP by IACG.
Geotail was launched on July 24, 1992, as the first of the ISTP fleet of satellites and has lived up to expectations. Six years after the launch the spacecraft is sound and still providing valuable information in such key regions of the magnetosphere as the magnetotail and the magnetopause. Collaborations with other ISTP and IACG missions have also been conducted and are expected to develop further.
In fact at the outset of the collaboration, ISAS management was afraid that NASA would demand use of its own normal requirements in the implementation of the Geotail program. For example, NASA relied on heavy documentation and used redundancy in key subsystems, but these requirements were beyond the capability of ISAS in terms of budget and work force. It was fortunate, however, that NASA middle management recognized the reliability of the ISAS system as reflected in the past records and agreed to adopt the ISAS procedures. Still, the Geotail program had to produce more documents than any other ISAS programs. We noticed that ISAS's request to minimize the documentation was hailed by NASA scientists and U.S. scientific colleagues. We often found that these documents were written and filed but not read.
In the Geotail program, a clear division of responsibilities existed between ISAS and NASA. ISAS was responsible for development and operation of the spacecraft, whereas NASA provided the launch vehicle. Responsibilities were shared in science instruments, telemetry data acquisition, and data processing and archiving. Integration and test of the spacecraft were performed at ISAS. No funds were exchanged between the two agencies. To be more specific, according to the words in the memorandum of understanding (MOU):
ISAS will use its best efforts to (a) design, fabricate, integrate and test the Geotail spacecraft and deliver it to the NASA JFK Space Center, (b) including the onboard propulsion system, (c) as well as the ground support equipment, (d) adhere to the Geotail/ELV interface requirements and safety requirements and prepare the associated documentation and procedures, (e) provide Japanese scientific instruments . . . , (h) assure compatibility of the spacecraft with the
NASA DSN, (i) conduct Geotail spacecraft mission operations, and (j) establish data bases and provide access to these data by the NASA Data Handling Facility.
NASA will use its best efforts to (a) provide a suitable upper stage with appropriate deployment/support software . . . and launch the spacecraft into the agreed orbit, (b) represent ISAS to the ELV, (c) provide necessary ELV ground facilities, (d) provide and deliver to Japan U.S. scientific instruments . . . , (g) provide for data acquisition during the launch phase and mission operations phase, (h) provide an appropriate communication link between NASA and ISAS, and (i) provide for the acquisition, processing and archiving of tape recorded data.
The actual orbit of Geotail has been as follows: (1) For about 2 years from the launch to October 1994 the orbit was controlled by the double lunar swingby maneuvers and the highest apogee was 220 Re while the perigee was about 10 Re, and (2) since that time the apogee has been lowered, first to 50 Re for about 5 months and then to 30 Re, with the perigee first at 10 Re and since June 1997 at 9 to 9.5 Re. The inclination during the latter, near-Earth orbit phase has been –8 Re, so that the spacecraft is continually sunlit at the apogee in the near-Earth plasma sheet around the December solstice. The perigee is chosen so that the spacecraft can skim along the dayside magnetopause, and it was adjusted in 1997 to enhance the passage on the earthward side of the magnetopause during the low sunspot activity.
Geotail carried seven sets of scientific instruments on board of which five were provided by the Japanese principal investigator (PI) teams and two by the U.S. PI teams. These two U.S. instruments were those that were originally selected for the GTL mission. Three other PIs of the GTL mission became co-investigators by combining part of their instruments with the instrumentation of the Japanese experiments in the same area or providing expert advice in instrument design. Some European scientists also joined the mission through personal invitation from Japanese PIs.
The electric field experiment (PI: K. Tsuruda, ISAS) uses (1) spherical probes and wire antennas and (2) the electron boomerang method. Probes were deployed by 100 m tip-to-tip antennas. The U.S. co-investigator (F.S. Mozer, University of California, Berkeley) provided expertise from his past experience on the double probe experiment. An ion emitter for the spacecraft potential control was provided by a European co-investigator (R. Schmidt, ESA).
The magnetic field experiment (PI: S. Kokubun, University of Tokyo) uses fluxgate and search coil magnetometers for dc and ac measurements, respectively. Two sets of the fluxgate magnetometers were deployed at distances of 4 and 6 m along the 6-m mast. The outboard and inboard magnetometers were provided by Japanese and U.S. teams (led by R.L. Lepping and D.H. Fairfield; and M. Acuna), respectively.
Observations of plasma are conducted by two independent sets of instruments. One is the low-energy plasma (LEP) analyzer (PI: T. Mukai, ISAS), and the other is the comprehensive plasma instrumentation (PI: L.A. Frank, University of Iowa).
Energetic particles were also observed by two independent teams. One is the high-energy particle (HEP) experiment (PI: T. Doke, Waseda University), and the other is the energetic particle and ion composition (EPIC) experiment (PI: D.J. Williams). The HEP experiment has three sensors covering different energy ranges and one of them, the LD sensor, was provided by a German co-investigator (B. Wilken, Max Planck Institute for Aeronomy).
Plasma wave investigation (PI: H. Matsumoto) had two frequency analyzers and the wave form capture equipment. One of the frequency analyzers was provided by the U.S. co-investigator (R.R. Anderson, University of Iowa).
ISAS has conducted all the spacecraft operations in cooperation with NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) and Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), including the orbit maneuvers, orbit determination, attitude determination, and instrument operations. Such key information as orbital state vectors, predicative and definitive orbital data, predicative and definitive attitude data, and time tag correlation data, are transferred electronically (via Internet) from ISAS to NASA GSFC and JPL. The JPL determines time intervals available at the Deep Space Network (DSN) for dumping the data from the on-board tape recorders. With this intimate cooperation, more than 95 percent of recorded data has been
successfully recovered by the DSN. Two tape recorders are used every 7.5 hours in turn to cover observations on a 24-hour continuous basis.
ISAS uses its 64-m antenna at Usuda in central Japan to send commands to the spacecraft as well as to receive real-time telemetry. The housekeeping data for each instrument are routinely monitored in Sagamihara Spacecraft Operation Center (SSOC) in ISAS. All the PIs, that is, both U.S. and Japanese PIs, can monitor the status of their instruments while the spacecraft is in sight from Usuda, for designing the operation. In addition, when anomalies are found at SSOC, the PIs are notified immediately by telephone. When the command requests from the PIs are received electronically at ISAS, the commands are compiled and sent from SSOC to the spacecraft, while the telemetry data are monitored in real time at the PIs' home institutions. Multitudes of security measures are incorporated in this procedure; for example, the compiled command code first is sent to the PI by telefax and then is verified word by word over the telephone when the code is transmitted to the spacecraft.
The data obtained have been made available to the international science community. The summary data, called key parameters, have been produced at the CDHF at NASA GSFC using the algorithms provided by PIs and have been available on line. More detailed data are provided on a collaborative basis at first, but at a certain time after acquisition the data are also made available on line.
The cost of the program up to the launch year (1992) was ¥9,500 million at ISAS and was estimated to be about $130 million at NASA. Thus both parties spent only about half of what they would have had to if they had conducted the program alone. The ISAS Geotail team was instructed to keep the budget within the range of the total cost of the other ISAS programs, including the cost of its own M-3SII launch vehicle.
Throughout the program the collaboration proceeded smoothly and no serious conflict arose. During the satellite development phase the Japanese project manager (K.T. Uesugi) took the overall command, and the project scientists (T. Mukai, I. Kimura, and M. Acuna) supervised development of science instruments. Numerous joint working group meetings were held at ISAS, NASA GSFC, and NASA Kennedy Space Center.
The most difficult decision that had to be made was the turning off of the spacecraft main power. This was needed to revive the LEP instrument, which had been made inoperative after the electric arcing that occurred during the test run in August 1992. Although no other instruments were affected by the arcing, there was a strong desire to revive LEP because it is one of the key instruments and is indispensable for the mission success. However, risk of losing the satellite was not entirely absent even if extensive studies had shown that the satellite could survive a temporary power cutoff. The issue was brought to the Geotail joint working group meeting in early 1993, and by the majority vote of the PIs it was decided to conduct the operation. The orbit was modified in June 1993 to bring the satellite to the nightside of the moon, and the battery was separated at midnight (JST) on September 1, 1993, while the satellite was in the lunar shadow. After 10 minutes of extreme tension the satellite emerged to the sunlight and was alive. The worth of this operation has been testified to by the fact that in the 5 years since then more than 100 scientific papers have been published based on the observations made by the LEP experiment.
During this crucial phase of the mission the upper managements of both agencies were fully informed, but they left the decisions entirely to the project team. In spite of the problems that could be foreseen if the operation failed, there was moral support not only at ISAS where the PI of the LEP belonged but also at NASA. The desire to maximize the mission outcome was shared by all the parties, and the project was highly encouraged by this moral support.
4.0 Lessons Learned
The collaboration in the Geotail program has been, and is continuing to be, a pleasant and profitable experience. The mission has been highly productive in terms of scientific outcome, and the
monograph “New Perspectives on the Earth's Magnetotail,”1 which is based largely on the results of the Geotail mission, was recognized by the Association of American Publishers as the best professional and scholarly book of 1998 in physics and astronomy. One could count many reasons as the causes of this success, but most important is that the U.S. and Japanese scientists shared common objectives. All of them were strongly motivated to explore the magnetotail more thoroughly than in any previous missions and find answers to many basic questions that had arisen during their preceding research efforts. They also knew that these objectives could be accomplished only through this collaborative program and were willing to make best efforts toward its success. Often each party went out of its way to accommodate the other party; for example, ISAS scientists helped U.S. PI teams in their hardware integration and test procedures and operations, and NASA team members helped to convince the NASA reviewers of the ISAS standards for the procedures. Because the resources from two parties were combined the cost was not as much of a limiting factor as in most other missions.
5.0 Legal Issues
Although the collaboration was implemented quite satisfactorily both scientifically and technically, it was challenged by NASA lawyers. When the MOU of the Geotail program was negotiated they took a strong position that a cross-waiver of liability be explicitly declared in the MOU using language that is standard to the U.S. law. Although it is common sense that parties should not sue each other in collaborative programs, to write such in an official document is inconsistent with Japanese domestic law, which does not permit unconditional waiving of liabilities because it contradicts established social norms. The negotiation was at deadlock, but it was saved accidentally in September 1989 when then U.S. Vice President Quayle visited Japan, and the governments chose the signing of the Geotail MOU for the ceremonial occasion. The issue was left fundamentally unresolved, however, and it still casts a shadow on the future of the collaboration.
Nishida, A., D.N. Baker, and S.W.H. Cowley, eds. New Perspectives on the Earth's Magnetotail, Geophysical Monograph Series, Volume 105, AGU Code GM105-088-7, American Geophysical Union, Washington, D.C., 1998.
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION WITH JAPAN IN THE INTERNATIONAL SOLAR-TERRESTRIAL PHYSICS / GGS PROGRAM
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
The origin of the Geotail Program and the collaboration with Japan traces back to the Origin of Plasmas in the Earth's Neighborhood (OPEN) Program, a fleet of four spacecraft studied at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC) in the early 1980s to conduct multipoint, coordinated measurements in the Earth's magnetosphere and the interplanetary medium. The OPEN program was the natural evolution of the early discovery missions, which although finding many new regions and plasmaphysical phenomena in the magnetosphere had problems separating cause-and effect relationships and resolving space-time ambiguities. The primary scientific objective was the coordinated study of the flow of energy, mass, and momentum from the Sun through the interplanetary medium and its eventual deposition in the Earth's atmosphere. This objective was to be achieved in a quantitative manner and to that extent theory, models, and ground-based observations were incorporated for the first time as an integral part of the project baseline. An ambitious ground system, capable of processing and visualizing the vast amounts of data generated by these spacecraft, was also conceived and incorporated in the OPEN concept.
2.0 Historical Background
The elements of the OPEN program were derived primarily from the experience (positive and negative) gained from many exploratory space physics missions such as the early Explorer series, Dynamics Explorer, the International Sun Earth Explorers, and others. It is useful to note that these early missions involved important programmatic and scientific collaborations with Europe, and the role played by Japanese scientists was primarily concerned with data interpretation and not with hardware contributions. In particular A. Nishida of the Institute of Space and Astronautical Science (ISAS) played a leading scientific role in studying phenomena taking place in the geomagnetic tail related to energization and transport of plasma and energetic particles.
The development of the OPEN program proved to be a major challenge —the cost and risk elements associated with the simultaneous construction and operation of 4 spacecraft and more than 30 scientific instruments were just too high for the anticipated level of funding and the achievement of the scientific objectives. Based on previous experience, international cooperation was actively sought to reduce NASA's costs and to widen the scientific participation in the program. The ISAS in Japan had conducted definition studies for a mission to the near geomagnetic tail (OPEN-J) at less than 20 Re based primarily on science priorities in Japan and the capabilities of the ISAS launch vehicles. The definition teams of OPEN and OPEN-J shared much information and attended joint planning meetings to coordinate science goals, instrumentation, and operation of spacecraft. The sequence of events leading to the NASA-ISAS memorandum of understanding (MOU) has been documented in more detail by H. Nishida.1 It was clear that to keep costs down and make OPEN a reality rather than a paper exercise, a programmatic collaboration between ISAS and NASA was highly advantageous to both parties. Japan agreed to integrate the objectives and requirements of the OPEN Geomagnetic Tail Laboratory into their program in exchange for a launch aboard a much more capable U.S. vehicle, the Delta II rocket, and Geotail was born. To further reduce OPEN costs the NASA study team held many bilateral and
Nishida, A., “International Cooperation in the Geotail Program,” Appendix D of this report, p. 23.
multilateral discussions with Europe and the Soviet Union, and as a result the OPEN program evolved into the International Solar-Terrestrial Physics (ISTP) program with important contributions from the Horizons 2000 program of the European Space Agency (ESA) such as the Solar and Heliospheric Observatory, and Cluster and the multiagency coordination elements developed under the Inter-Agency Consultative Group umbrella for the 1986 Halley apparition involving NASA, ESA, ISAS, and the Soviet Union (IKI). The first ISTP agreement to be executed was the NASA-ISAS bilateral agreement for the Geotail program, and as such Geotail was the first ISTP spacecraft launched in July of 1992. This date is an important datum, which marks the beginning of what is now in full operation, the ISTP program. The U.S. flagship contribution to ISTP, which by then had been renamed the “Global Geospace Science ” program, ran into serious development difficulties with resulting delays in the anticipated spacecraft launches, seriously impacting the planned coordination and simultaneity of observations. In particular the delays in the Wind spacecraft (named IPL under OPEN) and later of Polar (PPL under OPEN) impacted the timing of the different phases of the Geotail mission to an extent that probably tested to the limit the U.S.-Japanese collaboration (see later).
3.0 Geotail Spacecraft and Instrument Development Phase
One of the prime management documents executed at the start of a NASA mission is usually the Executive Project Plan. This document, which has for the most part a predefined format, takes the terms of the MOU and translates them into management organizations, structures, reporting tools, responsibilities, interfaces, and so on. The entire structure of the Project Plan reflects U.S. management philosophy, and it became immediately clear that the plan was not entirely compatible with Japanese assumptions and expectations. The heavy reliance by the NASA management team on formal documents for everything (including many trivial matters) was a challenge to the ISAS normal way of doing business. This created many minor conflicts which eventually had to be “translated” into mutually acceptable language. My impression is that the Japanese, following their pragmatic tradition, eventually generated many “documents” just to please NASA and keep things going but either had an incomplete knowledge of the contents and expectations or just ignored them until they became critical or finally realized what was implied. In the early days of Geotail several Japanese scientists confessed to me that American behavior and expectations were a “mystery” to them. Many things were learned the “hard” way by NASA, such as the dangers of pushing an issue (e.g., the early DECNET, and SPAN networks for data exchange and communications) too vigorously without knowledge of the sensitivities of the Japanese system. This early phase was aided greatly by the residence of Dr. Icihiro Nakatani for several years at GSFC who could observe and experience the NASA system at close range and was able to translate and reinterpret many complex issues in the context of ISAS culture and its language and protocols. These activities were also aided significantly by periodic joint working group and science working group meetings where issues were openly discussed and resolved. The U.S. and Japanese science teams, having much more experience than the management team in international endeavors, were critical to the success of the collaboration. The U.S. investigators, through their engineering teams, also contributed greatly to the solution of technological challenges. It was clear at the onset that the hardware development philosophies of NASA and ISAS and the relations with supporting contractors were very different. NASA management insisted on a “watchdog” philosophy (especially after Challenger) supported by tons of legalistic paper and “watchers.” ISAS on the other hand was perfectly happy with delegating the bulk of hardware development matters to their main support contractor (NEC) because they had done good work in the past and there was no reason to expect that they would not do it in the future. Another point of subtle friction was the high stature, visibility, and strong personalities of the U.S. principal investigators aboard Geotail versus their Japanese counterparts who, with few notable exceptions, had yet to prove themselves in an international science arena. The introduction of theoretical investigators by NASA into the U.S. activities of Geotail also created some professional friction. The incredible capacity for work and sacrifice by the Japanese team gained them tremendous respect. During integration and test
of the Geotail spacecraft, things were accomplished in a few hours that would have taken months in the United States. Several science instruments had important hardware contributions from the United States and required interaction with other industrial support contractors to ISAS, such as the MEISEI Electric Company, which had the bulk of the responsibility for the Japanese instruments. Included in these activities were the import/export regulations controlling the flow of space hardware between Japan and the United States. The performance characteristics of several of the Japanese science instruments appeared to have been based on highly successful, equivalent counterparts developed by very experienced U.S. groups for earlier missions, and MEISEI had the task to make these goals a reality although it was not clear whether or not the experience base existed at MEISEI. To their credit, the performance of Japanese instruments on Geotail, with almost no exceptions, has been outstanding. The importation of U.S. instruments into Japan required some interesting procedures and support documents, like color photographs of their component parts, schematics, and so on. It must be said that compared to the situation today, the export/import control problems experienced by Geotail were minimal. Current export control laws and procedures in the United States and at NASA would make a repeat of the Geotail successful collaboration an impossibility.
The operational aspects of the Geotail spacecraft also generated some interesting challenges. The command system was incompatible with U.S. standards as defined by the Deep Space Network (DSN), and ISAS and NEC did not have the resources or flexibility to modify the baseline design to make it compatible with DSN standards. Hence a compromise was reached where the United States would just receive tape recorder playbacks commanded from Japan on a time delayed basis. Not all the instrument data were included in this data stream—the high rate, high resolution data were transmitted directly to the Usuda station in Japan through a separate link. The Wind and Polar delays created a serious situation for NASA's support of the Geotail objectives. The energetics of the two-phase Geotail mission required that the spacecraft first be launched into the deep-tail orbit, not a Japanese prime goal. With Wind and Polar absent, many of the ISTP objectives of multipoint simultaneous observations would have to be postponed or in some cases abandoned, and the prime Japanese mission would have to wait for 2 additional years. Japanese protocol required that Geotail be launched on time, such as it was, within a week or so of the intended date planned several years before. NASA responded by increasing support for the operation of the venerable Interplanetary Monitoring Platform (IMP-8) spacecraft, to obtain simultaneous interplanetary and near-Earth data while waiting for the Wind and Polar development problems to be solved. This sacrifice by ISAS was greatly appreciated and respected in the United States and was a significant factor in later considerations of risk-taking trade-offs. An important technical point that emerged from the initial discussions was the system design philosophy to avoid propagation of failures from one system to another aboard the spacecraft. The initial design reflected the “closed” environment in which ISAS had developed spacecraft in the past. However, the U.S. project and investigators were concerned about a single failure dragging several instruments and subsystems down. Several compromise fixes were implemented, but because of the heritage design not all potential problems could be addressed. This particular issue came to light dramatically when the low-energy plasma analyzer (LEP) instrument (T. Mukai, PI) “latched-up” and ceased to respond to spacecraft commands. Because of the system design, the only way to recover from latch-up was to power the spacecraft OFF, an impossible feat unless the solar array could be turned off. ISAS proposed to do this by flying behind the Moon, during which time all power would be disconnected for several minutes allowing the LEP instrument to recover from the latch-up condition. The NASA project office reviewed the work carried out by ISAS to support this action and was deeply divided about the potential risks of the spacecraft occultation strategy. The U.S. PIs were also strongly opposed to what they considered a high-risk solution that could impact the future of their investigations. On the other hand the LEP was one of the most innovative experiments on board and had already demonstrated the capability to produce outstanding data. Several meetings were held to discuss this option and I personally reviewed the work done by ISAS for the recovery maneuver judging it excellent. However, many arguments were made regarding the size of “U.S. investment” in Geotail and why risk it? Earlier NASA had let ISEE-3 spend 20 minutes behind the Moon with no power source at all in order to visit a comet and was willing to invest close to $80 million in Cluster scheduled to fly on the
very first flight of an unproven rocket, Ariane 5. So spending 10 minutes behind the Moon with Geotail to recover a major ISAS instrument did not seem to be such a bad risk after all. At a Project Science working group meeting the decision was made to proceed with the maneuver, which was executed with total success (see footnote 1), another example of the critical role played by the scientists in the success of Geotail.
4.0 Networks, Data, and Other
The OPEN program had already considered the important role that networks and computing were starting to play in the visualization and analysis of space data. These elements were further enhanced in ISTP with the explosion of these technologies in the United States and Europe. But Japan and ISAS were another story. There was no strong tradition of high-level computing with workstations and networking, and this was a source of some concern to U.S. investigators. Good intention efforts were made by the National Space Science Data Center to assist in the establishment of computers and networks in Japan, but the proper protocol was not observed and some difficulties developed although these were later solved successfully. The highly personal Japanese approach was being challenged by the centralized, large-scale ISTP approach to data processing, distribution, and analysis. It was my impression at the time that ISAS and other Japanese investigators were not totally happy with the tremendous U.S. pressure being applied to them, nor with the “standards,” paperwork, and other apparently bureaucratic processes being requested by NASA. In fact this was also the case among investigators in the United States who were balking at these new impositions that had no useful purpose (in their opinion). However, the significant success of this approach is unanimously recognized today as one of the major accomplishments of ISTP and is being emulated in other NASA and ESA projects. Later on, with NASA's desire to make data available as quickly as possible to the science community at large and with no strings attached, more external pressures were imposed on the Japanese investigators. Their response has been excellent, and Geotail data of all kinds are widely available worldwide. Sadly, current export control regulations in the United States raise troubling questions regarding the distribution and access to scientific databases for future international collaborative programs.
5.0 Lessons Learned
The Geotail program has been and continues to be an outstanding success. In addition to the significant scientific accomplishments by the U.S. and Japanese Geotail investigators, many other goals have been achieved such as one expressed to me by a leading Japanese scientist at the start of the program: “I want to see Japanese scientists compete on the same level as and match the productivity of U.S. scientists. ” In spite of the delays in the development of the Wind and Polar spacecraft, all major science goals have been accomplished with important scientific discoveries to Geotail's credit. The international team approach to the science goals was the central catalytic force driving scientists to work together, sharing data, knowledge, and tools in ways never imagined before ISTP. During ISTP development the technology of space physics instruments made a giant leap forward with the introduction of imaging detectors, microprocessors, and “intelligent” instruments, and the open sharing of information made possible state-of-the-art instruments that are returning invaluable data today.
The important balance between science goals and resource management, so critical to the success of space missions, was achieved in both the United States and Japan thanks to the personal dedication and open-minded approach of all involved, sharing knowledge, facilities, and resources and overcoming cultural and language obstacles. Interpersonal relationships developed through close and continuous interactions throughout the program at the working level and also played an important role in “translating the untranslatable” whenever things got complicated. Finally, the development of a mutual trust relationship between the partners was perhaps the most critical element of all for success. U.S. project
managers were (eventually) willing to trust the ISAS approach and methodology (although at times this was a hotly debated issue) and ISAS was patient enough to (eventually) understand and accept mysterious and inefficient U.S. documentation requirements. It is unfortunate that the highly legalistic approach by the United States to liability and export matters created what seemed insurmountable issues at times. I am extremely pleased by the success of Geotail and the privilege that I was afforded to meet and work with world-class U.S. and Japanese scientists in space research. Perhaps in the near future we will find ways to overcome political and unscientific issues, which only detract from the common goals of science, and realize the full benefits of international collaboration in space missions.