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Proceedings Paper

Lidar measurements of launch vehicle exhaust plumes
Author(s): Phan D. Dao; David D. Curtis; Robert Farley; Philip Soletsky; Gilbert Davidson; Jerry A. Gelbwachs
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Paper Abstract

The Mobile Lidar Trailer (MLT) was developed and operated to characterize launch vehicle exhaust plume and its effects on the environment. Two recent applications of this facility are discussed in this paper. In the first application, the MLT was used to characterize plumes in the stratosphere up to 45 km in support of the Air Force Space and Missile Center's Rocket Impact on Stratospheric Ozone program. Solid rocket motors used by Titan IV and other heavy launch vehicles release large quantities of gaseous hydrochloric acid in the exhaust and cause concerns about a possible depletion of the ozone layer. The MLT was deployed to Cape Canaveral Air Station since October 1995 to monitor ozone and to investigate plume dynamics and properties. Six campaigns have been conducted and more are planned to provide unique data with the objective of addressing the environmental issues. The plume was observed to disperse rapidly into horizontally extended yet surprisingly thin layer with thickness recorded in over 700 lidar profiles to be less than 250 meters. MLT operates with the laser wavelengths of 532, 355 and 308 nm and a scanning receiving telescope. Data on particle backscattering at the three wavelengths suggest a consistent growth of particle size in the 2-3 hour observation sessions following the launch. In the second type of application, the MLT was used as a remote sensor of nitrogen dioxide, a caustic gaseous by-product of common liquid propellant oxidizer. Two campaigns were conducted at the Sol Se Mete Canyon test site in New Mexico in December 1996 an January 1997 to study the dispersion of nitrogen dioxide and rocket plume.

Paper Details

Date Published: 31 October 1997
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 3127, Application of Lidar to Current Atmospheric Topics II, (31 October 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.279073
Show Author Affiliations
Phan D. Dao, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
David D. Curtis, Air Force Research Lab. (United States)
Robert Farley, PhotoMetrics, Inc. (United States)
Philip Soletsky, PhotoMetrics, Inc. (United States)
Gilbert Davidson, PhotoMetrics, Inc. (United States)
Jerry A. Gelbwachs, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3127:
Application of Lidar to Current Atmospheric Topics II
Arthur J. Sedlacek; Kenneth W. Fischer, Editor(s)

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