A test of the Critical Ionization Velocity (CIV) theory was made with neutral xenon releases from the Space Experiments with Particle Accelerators (SEPAC) hollow cathode plasma contactor onboard the Shuttle Orbiter Atlantis during the ATLAS‐1 mission. The gas velocity perpendicular to the Earth's magnetic field was essentially the orbital velocity (7.5 km/s), and thus it exceeded the CIV for xenon. The releases were observed with onboard instrumentation. A factor of 60 enhancement was seen in the Langmuir probe current. Calculations confirmed that release conditions generally satisfied criteria for CIV and predicted a maximum factor of 20 increase in plasma density. Thus, CIV effects were likely to have occurred during the ATLAS‐1 experiments.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)