There are four main science goals of the CINEMA and TRIO missions:

The STEIN detector will use neutral atoms to remotely image the ring current: with three spacecraft, multi-point steroscopic analysis will be possible. The radiation belts are greatly enhanced during magnetic storms, with harmful effects on spacecraft: TRIO-CINEMA will watch this process in action with fine spatial and temporal resolution. TRIO-CINEMA data are complementary to those of the TWINS mission: the latter are in eccentric high inclination orbits and have lower energy sensitivity.

Precipitating ions

Fast-moving magnetospheric ions will be detected at low altitudes as the precipitate into the upper atmosphere in the auroral regions. STEIN, combined with magnetic field data from MAGIC, will measure the pitch angle distrubtions of these particles: these are important in the ionisation and energy deposition budget of the upper atmosphere. STEIN extends the energy range compared to previous mission such as FAST and can also image ion precipitation using neutral atoms.

Electron microbursts

Very short (<0.25s) bursts of precipitating electrons are thought to be generated by wave-particle interactions scattering them into the loss cone. No instrument has yet had the energy range to measure the full distritubion of microbursts: STEIN will do this for the first time. MAGIC will provide the context magnetic field data.

Magnetospheric waves and transients

MAGIC will measure waves and structures in the inner magnetosphere with high temporal resolution. Combined with data from ground-based magnetometers and the upcoming SWARM mission, it will make it possible to measure the 3D wavevectors and motion of these structures, helping to determine their origin and controlling processes.


  • NSF funding awarded to SSL: 30 August 2009
  • CINEMA Critical Design Review: February 2010
  • MAGIC delivery for CINEMA: September 2010
  • CINEMA launch: September 2012
  • TRIO-2 and TRIO-3 launch: November 2014