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APPLICATIONS TECHNOLOGY SATELLITE 5 (ATS-5)

A flight IPS, identical to the one flown on ATS-4, was launched on ATS-5 on August 12, 1969. The purpose of this flight was to demonstrate NSSK of a geosynchronous satellite. Once in geosynchronous orbit the spacecraft could not be despun as planned, and thus the spacecraft gravity gradient stabilization could not be implemented. The spacecraft spin rate was about 76 revolutions per minute, and this caused an effective 4g acceleration on the cesium feed system. The high g-loading on the cesium feed system caused flooding of the discharge chamber, and normal operation of the thruster with ion beam extraction could not be performed. The IPS was able to be operated as a neutral plasma source, without high-voltage ion extraction, along with the wire neutralizer to examine spacecraft charging effects. The neutralizer was also operated by itself to provide electron injection for the spacecraft charging experiments.

The preceding was an excerpt from:
Sovey, J. S., Rawlin, V. K., and Patterson, M. J.: "Ion Propulsion Development Projects in U. S.: Space Electric Rocket Test 1 to Deep Space 1." Journal of Propulsion and Power, Vol. 17, No. 3, May-June 2001, pp. 517-526.




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