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Proceedings Paper

Effect of the polar auroral regions on the midcourse space experiment cold cathode pressure sensor
Author(s): Mark T. Boies; Terry E. Phillips; Robert E. Erlandson; David M. Silver; Richard C. Benson; Jeffrey C. Lesho; O. Manuel Uy; B. David Green; Gary E. Galcia; James S. Dyer; Bob E. Wood; David F. Hall
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Paper Abstract

This paper discusses the pressure spike phenomenon measured by the Total Pressure Sensor (TPS) on the Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX) spacecraft as it passes through aurora! regions. The TPS is an inverted magnetron, cold cathode gauge that has a range of 10'° to i0 Ton and is sampled at a 1 Hertz rate. The operation of the instrument depends uponthe conversion of neutral molecules to ions and the measurement of the resultant current. The TPS has monitored large (>10 fold increase) pressure transients in the auroral regions of the Earth, which have very short temporal width (< 3 seconds). It is shown experimentally that the injection of electrons into the TPS orifice results in a higher apparent pressure measurement, presumably due to an increase in the ion formation rate. An equivalent positive ion flux, however, does not noticeably effect the TPS pressure measurement. It is therefore believed that the on-orbit transients seen by the MSX TPS are consistent with an increased flux of electrons from the auroral regions into the entrance aperture of the gauge. This paper describes ground experiments to quantify the phenomenon with a flight spare TPS and correlates these results to the measurements made onboard the MSX spacecraft.

Paper Details

Date Published: 17 October 1997
PDF: 13 pages
Proc. SPIE 3124, Photonics for Space Environments V, (17 October 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.283877
Show Author Affiliations
Mark T. Boies, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Terry E. Phillips, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Robert E. Erlandson, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
David M. Silver, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Richard C. Benson, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Jeffrey C. Lesho, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
O. Manuel Uy, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
B. David Green, Physical Sciences, Inc. (United States)
Gary E. Galcia, Physical Sciences, Inc. (United States)
James S. Dyer, Utah State Univ. (United States)
Bob E. Wood, Sverdrup Technology, Inc. (United States)
David F. Hall, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3124:
Photonics for Space Environments V
Edward W. Taylor, Editor(s)

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