Charging and the Cross-Field Discharge during Electron Accelerator Operation on a Rocket

Paul J. Kellogg, Steven J. Monson

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2 Scopus citations


We present some limited results obtained from the flight of SCEX II, from Poker Flat, Alaska, on January 31, 1987. Some of the experiments were aimed at understanding neutralization processes around an electron beam emitting rocket. It was expected that electrons drifting in the strong electric fields around the charged rocket would acquire sufficient energy to ionize neutrals, and that the resulting ions would be hurled outward at energies up to the rocket potential. Three hemispherical retarding potential analyzers were ejected from the main payload to measure these ions. This experiment was successful, in spite of arcs which developed around the batteries for the electron guns, which degraded the emitted electron beam to unusable levels except for about 8 sec of the flight. Ions were observed at energies up to 175eV, the limit of the analyzers. The main payload carried, in addition to the electron accelerator, two arms with conducting elements to act as Langmuir probes, and to measure floating potentials. These measurements show that fields sufficient to accelerate electrons to ionizing energies were present around the rocket.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1257-1267
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Geomagnetism and Geoelectricity
Issue number10
StatePublished - 1988


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