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Space Shuttle Charging Results,
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The vehicle charging and potential experiment V CAP was accepted by NASA as part of the OSS-1 payload to be flown on a test flight of the space shuttle. The V CAP eventually flew on the third shuttle flight at the end of March, 1982. This shuttle flight, designated STS-3, flew a circular orbit with an inclination of 37 deg, an altitude of 250 km, and an orbital plane approximately dawndusk. The V CAP experiment consisted of four plasma diagnostic instruments, two of which were duplicated, a fast pulse electron generator FPEG and a digital control and interface unit. The prime objective of the V CAP experiment was to study the electrical charging of the orbiter under conditions of passive orbiting, and under conditions of active charge emission by an electron generator. These measurements were to be made under a variety of conditions, such as orientation to the B vector, ram vector, solar direction, varying ambient plasma density, and sunlitdarkness conditions. In order to better understand the mechanisms of vehicle charging, experiments were also made on the interaction of the beam with its environment. Experiments to measure wave and particle fields around the beam were made in collaboration with the University of Iowa plasma diagnostics package experiment. Visual imaging of the beam was performed using low light TV and optical photography.
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