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17 October 1997 Effect of the polar auroral regions on the midcourse space experiment cold cathode pressure sensor
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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.
© (1997) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
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, and David F. Hall "Effect of the polar auroral regions on the midcourse space experiment cold cathode pressure sensor", Proc. SPIE 3124, Photonics for Space Environments V, (17 October 1997);


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