NP-119 Science in Orbit: The Shuttle & Spacelab Experience, 1981-1986

 

The gas cloud given off by the orbiter produces reactions that modify the density of nearby plasma.

The gas cloud given off by the orbiter produces reactions that modify the density of nearby plasma. Ions created from a charge-exchange reaction with the plasma produce electrostatic waves that are evident at more than 300 meters (0.25 miles) from the orbiter along magnetic fields. The plasma wake of the Shuttle results in an ion tail similar to the tails of comets.


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