Plasma Waves and Electrical Discharges Stimulated by Beam Operations on a High Altitude Satellite

  • H. C. Koons
  • H. A. Cohen
Part of the NATO Advanced Study Institutes Series book series (NSSB, volume 79)


The P78–2 (SCATHA) satellite was launched on 30 January 1979 to measure the characteristics of the spacecraft charging process near synchronous orbit. A particle beam system was included in the payload to investigate the phenomenon of spacecraft charging by modifying the spacecraft environment. The beam system has both an electron gun and an ion gun that can be used to alter the spacecraft ground with respect to the plasma either positively or negatively. A charging electrical effects analyzer (CEEA) was provided for the payload to verify that electrical discharges are occurring when other instruments measure large differential potentials between surface materials on the vehicle. The CEEA consists of three instruments, a Pulse Shape Analyzer, a VLF Analyzer, and an RF Analyzer. The Pulse Shape Analyzer measures the number of pulses, their amplitudes and shapes on four sensors. The VLF Analyzer measures the electric and magnetic field spectra of waves in the frequency range from ≈100 Hz to 300 kHz. The RF Analyzer measured the electric field intensity on a 1.8-m monopole antenna in the frequency range from 2 to 30 MHz. The instruments on the SCATHA satellite are described by Stevens and Vampola (1978).


Plasma Wave Harness Wire Chorus Emission Electric Antenna Spacecraft Charge 
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  1. Stevens, J. R., and Vampola, A. L., 1978, Description of the Space Test Program P78–2 Spacecraft and Payloads, SAMSO TR-78–24, U.S. Air Force Space Division, El Segundo, California.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • H. C. Koons
    • 1
  • H. A. Cohen
    • 2
  1. 1.Space Sciences LaboratoryThe Aerospace CorporationLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Air Force Geophysics LaboratoryHanscom Air Force BaseUSA

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