CINDI is made possible by participating in a mission called the Communications/Navigation Outage Forecast System (C/NOFS). C/NOFS is being managed by the US Air Force Research laboratory and the Space and Missile Command Test and Evaluation Program.

C/NOFS could be launched in late 2003 and is in many ways like a small explorer mission. It has a focused, scientific and operational objective to determine when and where regions of ionospheric irregularities will appear and what the impact of those irregularities on radio communications will be.
The approach is to conduct two-year demonstration program that utilizes in-situ measurements from a satellite to drive a forecast model in real time. The
C/NOFS satellite, will carry three types of sensors: 1)in-situ ionospheric plasma property instruments, 2) remote electron density GPS occultation sensor and imaging UV spectrographs and 3) RF beacon and receiver for ionospheric scintillation detection. The C/NOFS project is divided into two parts each to last one year. During phase one (the survey mode) the requirement for real-time data is lifted and a full complement of instruments will collect data to be used in the development of specification and forecast models. The individual instrument Principal Investigators will be able to access their data at the C/NOFS Data Center located at AFRL at Hanscom AFB to develop and perform quality checks and begin the data analysis. During the second year (operational mode) key instruments will be operated on a more limited duty cycle. In that mode, the data from the instruments will be transmitted in real-time to the Data Center where it will be processed to provide global ionospheric scintillation specification and forecasts for the use of the U.S. Air Force. The data collected by the satellite will be available for the use of the scientific community during all phases of the mission. It is well recognized that the accuracy and reliability of the models will depend largely on our understanding of the applicable physics in the region. This is the goal of our proposed investigation. There is thus a natural synergism between the final operational goals of the Air Force and the science investigation proposed here.

We will design, fabricate and operate instruments to be flown on the C/NOFS satellite and undertake a scientific investigation of ion-neutral coupling that is key to understanding the large- and small-scale processes that are important to the production of ionospheric irregularities.

Our investigation provides a key observational element to the C/NOFS program, and will also provide valuable insights that contribute to the overall scientific goals. The science to mission traceability matrix shows the connection between our investigation and the C/NOFS mission.

The presently configured payload for the C/NOFS satellite will allow it to function operationally to report the presence of ionospheric irregularities in the equatorial F region. The overall objective is to determine when ionospheric structures will appear, over what spatial extent they will exist, and how severe the effects of such structures will become.