STATUS: After several days of strong winds, clouds and many other issues, we finally managed to get the launch conditions we were looking for and launched RENU this morning at approximately 06:38 UT. The good news is that we managed to launch into a brief but strong event. The discussions that led to the decision to launch were intense, to say the least. I could show the EISCAT radar data that shows the ion outflow, electron heating, etc., and then I could brag about how we managed to hit a relatively transient event, but instead I will show an image of the aurora overhead at KHO just three minutes before the launch took place.

The not-so-good news is that there appear to have been issues with the payload. While this information is still preliminary, it seems that the separation of the nose cone (that took place between the firing of the 3rd and 4th stage motor burns) coincided with a loss of power to instruments in the forward section of the payload. The apogee was also significantly lower than predicted, reaching only about 340 km instead of the 450+ km expected.

On the other hand, the subpayload performed very well and acquired measurements of electric fields and electron temperatures. The onboard auroral imager, mounted on the aft end of the main payload, also appears to have worked well.

It will take some time to sort this all out, of course.

THE LAST WORD: The support we have received from our Norwegian hosts, from the many people from other countries who contributed their efforts and, in particular, the people who worked so many long hours to put this rocket together has been incredible. On behalf of the science team, I would like to say THANK YOU and best wishes for a great holiday season.

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