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A facility for the simulation of low orbit atmospheric oxygen bombardmentA molecular beam facility to simulate the space environment of a spacecraft at low orbit was designed with the intent of studying the effect on the properties of optical elements of oxygen atoms impacting at orbital velocity. The four-stage differentially pumped molecular beam facility includes a variety of oxygen atom beam sources which cover a wide range of velocities (1 km/sec to approximately 8 km/sec), in addition to the ultra-clean experimental environmental of an ultra-high vacuum chamber and an optical diagnostic set-up. The primary oxygen atom beam source used to obtain the 8 km/sec O atoms is an arc heated source. It consists of a modified commercially available plasma torch. The modifications include attachments which provide for a nozzle which is used to expand the atomic beam into the vacuum system, and exhaust channels to dispose of excess torch gas. The torch operates in the 'nontransferred' mode of operation, that is the electric arc is confined within the torch. A plasma is formed in helium by a dc arc. A small amount of O2 is injected downstream from the arc where it is thermally dissociated by the hot He into oxygen atoms. The high temperature and isentropic expansion give the oxygen atoms their velocity. Using seeded beam techniques, oxygen atom beams of approximately 3.5 and approximately 1.5 km/sec, respectively, are obtained.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Arnold, G. S. (Aerospace Corp. Los Angeles, CA, United States)
Herm, R. R. (Aerospace Corp. Los Angeles, CA, United States)
Peplinski, D. R. (Aerospace Corp. Los Angeles, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
August 10, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1982
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Goddard Space Flight Center 12th Space Simulation Conf.
Subject Category
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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