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FLIGHT INFORMATION AND EXPERIMENTAL RESULTS OF INFLATABLE FALLING SPHERE SYSTEM FOR MEASURING UPPER AIR DENSITY
AIR FORCE CAMBRIDGE RESEARCH LABS L G HANSCOM FIELD MASS
A Nike-Cajun rocket firing for the purpose of ejecting an inflatable sphere with accelerometers and telemetry at 300,000 ft is described. The firing was to measure the drag acceleration of the sphere above 300,000 ft for use in calculating air-density measurements. The drag acceleration is measured with three linear accelerometers which measure acceleration along three mutually perpendicular axes from within the sphere. The density calculated from this flight was 1.46 x 10 to the -9th power slugscubic ft at 107 km. A secondary objective was to obtain an engineering evaluation of a system to eject and inflate a 9-ft diameter sphere. Flight records indicated that the sphere was ejected 76 sec 300,000 ft after launching. The rocket was fired shortly after sunset when the sky had darkened and the earths shadow extended to about 250,000 ft. The sphere was observed for approximately 3 minutes. The sphere attained an altitude of 450,000 ft. Telemetry data was recorded for 12 minutes. Author