Physics Department Seminar University of Alaska Fairbanks

J O U R N A L    C L U B

Development and Testing of a New Type of Sounding Rocket Payload for the Measurement of Three-Dimensional Thermospheric Neutral Wind Gradients
Carl Anderson (and Mark Conde)
Physics Dept. and GI, UAF

The Geophysical Institute has developed a new type of sounding rocket payload that is expected to fly on a rocket mission launched from Poker Flat in early 2010. The new payload design is collection of sub-payloads, each of which is an approximately five-pound, rocket-propelled cylinder that will launch out of the side of a Terrier-Orion rocket during flight. The ultimate goal is to achieve the capability to disperse a three-dimensional constellation of trimethyl-aluminum “puffs” which will allow for the measurement of three-dimensional neutral wind fields and gradients in the polar lower thermosphere.

A brief summary of the scientific motivation for the mission and the properties of the polar lower thermosphere will be presented and preliminary results of Fall 2009 testing of the ampule design will be shown. The testing results include high speed video (up to 16,000 frames per second) and other data from test ampule explosions under vacuum, rocket motor burns at a variety of pressures, and ampule launch trials. Some aspects of the field of rocket propulsion relevant to these tests will also be discussed.

Friday, 3 December 2009
Globe Room, Elvey Building
3:45 PM