Measurements of the Interaction of High-Voltage Biassed Conductors with the Ionosphere
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH
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The Space Power Experiments Aboard Rockets program was developed to study the interaction of high-voltage biassed conductors with the low earth orbit environment. The experiment utilized two spherical conductors, which were biassed to potentials as high as 45,000 volts, and the steady-state current- voltage characteristics were analyzed. The spheres were flown in three different orientations with respect to the earths magnetic field. At times, only one sphere was biassed so that the current collection characteristics of a single spherical conductor could be studied. At other times, both spheres were biassed to approximately the same voltage, or to greatly differing voltages so that the interactions between charge sheaths could be studied. The failure of the plasma contactor allowed the rocket body to charge to up to several kilovolts negative during sphere biassing, resulting in the establishment of an unplanned positive ion sheath around the rocket body, thereby complicating the interpretation of the current-voltage characteristics of the spheres. Keywords Ionosphere, Conductivity.
- Unmanned Spacecraft