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Keywords:

  • topside sounder;
  • ISIS Alouette;
  • ionosphere

[1] We review efforts to save a unique data set and scientific results based on the rescued data. The goal of the project was to produce Alouette 2, ISIS 1, and ISIS 2 digital topside ionograms from selected original seven-track analog telemetry tapes. This project was initiated to preserve a significant portion of 60 satellite years of analog data, collected between 1962 and 1990, in digital form before the tapes were discarded. More than 1/2 million digital topside ionograms are now available for downloading at http://nssdcftp.gsfc.nasa.gov and for browsing and plotting at http://cdaweb.gsfc.nasa.gov. We illustrate data products, discuss analysis programs, review scientific results based on the digital data, and recognize those who made the project possible. The scientific results include evidence of extremely low altitude ionospheric peak densities at high latitudes, improved and new ionospheric models including one connecting the F2 topside ionosphere and the plasmasphere, transionospheric HF propagation investigations, and new interpretations of sounder-stimulated plasma emissions that have challenged theorists for decades. The homepage for the ISIS project is at http://nssdc.gsfc.nasa.gov/space/isis/isis-status.html.