Early Years of Air Force Geophysics Research Contributing to Internationally Recognized Standard and Reference Atmospheres.
PHILLIPS LAB HANSCOM AFB MA
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Some of the research done at the Air Force Cambridge Research Center Geophysics Research Directorate and the Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratories during the early years of the Space Program is reviewed. Vignettes are provided of some of the programs in which the laboratories were world leaders. The period starts with the testing of captured V-2 rockets at White Sands, NM in 1946 and ends with satellites that were launched in 1983. A very extensive scientific rocket program from 1956 had the goals of determining the properties of the upper atmosphere and ionosphere and, in some cases, modifying them. There was participation in many joint field programs with other organizations. When the satellite age started in 1957, AFCRC was in the forefront of supporting satellite tracking, determining drag effects on orbits, and developing first time accurate upper atmosphere models. This was followed by developing and flying unique satellites to determine atmospheric properties and providing instruments for satellites that were developed jointly with other DoD organizations and NASA. Finally, the laboratory made major contributions to the development of updated versions of the U. S. Standard Atmosphere and Supplements, and to the development of several versions of CIRA CO SPAR International Reference Atmospheres.