• Design and implementation of a plasma probe to measure relative plasma density in the e-region of the ionosphere for the hex-2 sounding rocket mission

      Nair, Sujith V. (2007-12)
      This thesis presents the design and implementation of a Plasma Probe that measures the relative plasma density in the E-region of the ionosphere during an active aurora. The instrument was designed for the Horizontal E-Region Experiment (HEX-2) conducted by the Geophysical Institute (University of Alaska Fairbanks) to investigate the spatial relationship of vertical winds associated with auroral structures. The Plasma Probe was successfully launched into space on a three-stage Black Brant X rocket from Poker Flat Research Range (PFRR) on February 14, 2007. The instrument design exploits the rocket's near horizontal trajectory to measure the relative density of the positively charged thermal ions and detect the presence of high-energy secondary auroral electrons by employing four segmented, gold-plated collectors wrapped around the rocket skin.