AIP Digital Archive
Electrical Engineering, Measurement and Control Technology
A light-weight, low-power, plasma analyzer is described that can be used for measuring the plasma environments of spacecraft with constrained resources. A unique system using a single electrostatic analyzer coupled to a single array of channel electron multipliers allows measurement of the three-dimensional energy per charge distributions of both ions and electrons over E/q ranges from ∼1 eV/q to (approximately-greater-than)40 keV/q. Particles selected by the analyzer are post-accelerated into the multipliers to maintain sensitivity for the lowest energy particles. An instrument using this concept called the magnetospheric plasma analyzer (MPA) is described. Presently, three MPAs are in geosynchronous orbits (GEO) aboard spacecraft with International Designators of 1989-046, 1990-095, and 1991-080. The MPA and its response characteristics are described, and examples of on-orbit data showing some of the MPA capabilities are presented.
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