Space Power Experiments Aboard Rockets

SPEAR III was the third in a series of MDA-sponsored SPEAR experiments to understand the interaction of directed energy and kinetic energy systems with the LEO environment. Instrumentation aboard SPEAR III included the following:

  • Grounding Systems: high voltage biasing system, field effect device, hollow cathode plasma contactor, neutral gas release system, thermo-ionic emitter
  • Spacecraft Grounding Experiments: differential charging device, solar cell system
  • Diagnostics: energetic particle detectors, low light level video, neutral pressure gauge, optical spectrometer, skin current probes, transient pulse monitor, plasma probes

SPEAR III launched in March 1993 from NASA's Wallops Flight Facility. The mission investigated different methods of grounding spacecraft to LEO plasma and obtained quantitative data on different charging effects observed on spacecraft in LEO.