NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Star of Condor - A strontium critical velocity experiment, Peru, 1983'Star of Condor' was a critical velocity experiment using Sr vapor produced in a radial shaped charge, which was carried to 571.11 km altitude on a Taurus-Tomahawk rocket launched from Punto Lobos, Peru, and detonated in the plane of the magnetic field lines so that all ranges of pitch angles from parallel to B to perpendicular to B were covered. Sr has a critical velocity of 3.3 km/s, and from observation, 42.5 percent of the neutral Sr gas had a velocity component perpendicular to B exceeding that value. No Sr ion emissions were detected shortly after the burst with usual TV integration times. However, about 10 min after the detonation a faint field-aligned streak was discovered with long TV integration times. The brightness is estimated as 5 R, which, combined with the streak geometry, implies an ion production of 2.4 x 10 to the 19th ions. This is only 0.0036 percent ionization of the Sr vapor. All the ions could easily have been produced by thermal ionization from the original detonation thermal distribution. The breakup of the Sr gas into small bloblike structures may have allowed the high-energy electrons to escape before an ionization cascade could be produced. For whatever reason, the Alfven mechanism proposed for space plasmas in the absence of laboratory walls did not produce an ionization cascade in the experiment.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Wescott, E. M.
(Alaska Univ. Fairbanks, AK, United States)
Stenbaek-Nielsen, H. C.
(Alaska Univ. Fairbanks, AK, United States)
Hallinan, T.
(Alaska, University Fairbanks, United States)
Foeppl, H.
(Alaska Univ. Fairbanks, AK, United States)
Valenzuela, A.
(Max-Planck-Institut fuer extraterrestrische Physik Garching, Germany)
Date Acquired
August 13, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 1986
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of Geophysical Research
Volume: 91
ISSN: 0148-0227
Subject Category
Accession Number
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits

Available Downloads

There are no available downloads for this record.
No Preview Available