Observations of plasma wave turbulence generated around large ionospheric spacecraft: Effects of motionally induced EMF and of electron beam emission

Torsten Neubert, S. Sasaki, B.E. Gilchrist, P.M. Banks, P.R. Williamson, A.C. Fraser-Smith, W.J. Raitt

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

We report on observations of plasma wave turbulence generated during electron beam injections, spacecraft potential variations, and neutral gas emissions of the CHARGE 2 sounding rocket experiment. The payload was flown in a mother/daughter configuration, with the two sub-payloads electrically connected by an insulated, conducting tether. While tethered, the two platforms were separated, drifting apart in a direction perpendicular to both the magnetic field and to the spacecraft velocity, reaching a maximum distance of 426 m at the end of the flight. The mother carried a high-voltage (HV) system (0-460 V), biasing the mother negative relative to the daughter. The operation of the HV bias system simulated the motional emf induced in larger orbiting space structures like the Tethered Satellite System 1 (TSS 1) space shuttle mission scheduled for the spring of 1992. In addition, the mother carried an electron beam accelerator (1 keV, 0-46 mA). The daughter diagnostics included wave receivers (400 Hz to 10 MHz) connected to a pair of electric dipole antennas. Broadband ELF/VLF turbulence was generated both during electron beam emissions and when the HV bias system was operated, while turbulence in the HF range was observed only during electron beam emissions. As a result of the electrical connection through the tether, the ELF/VLF wave intensities show little variation with separation distance of the two payloads. Two sources of wave turbulence are proposed to account for the observations: (1) wave turbulence generated by the beam/spacecraft system in particular in the HF range, and (2) electron return currents to the daughter stimulating VLF noise during HV operations and electron beam emissions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres
Volume96
Issue numberA6
Pages (from-to)9639-9654
ISSN2169-9380
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 1991
Externally publishedYes

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