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Brian Dunbar

Headquarters, Washington, D.C.
July 8, 1991
(Phone: 202/453-1547)

Jerry Berg
Marshall Space Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala.
(Phone: 205/544-0034)

RELEASE: 91-107

CHEMICAL RELEASES FROM SATELLITE PLANNED IN JULY

NASA will resume a series of active space physics
experiments this summer by conducting several chemical
releases in July and August with the Combined Release and
Radiation Effects Satellite (CRRES). The satellite was
developed and launched as a joint NASA-U.S. Air Force effort
to study the Earth's magnetic fields and the effects of space
radiation on spacecraft components.

The series of experiments will involve releasing clouds of
barium vapor in space over the Caribbean sea, allowing
scientists to investigate the effects of artificial ion clouds
on the electrically conducting ionosphere layers and to trace
the geometry of electric and magnetic fields.

Release opportunities for the summer experiments will occur
every third night beginning July 10 and continue through July
25. Additional opportunities have been identified between
Aug. 9 and Aug. 21, again on every third night.

These releases, which have no adverse environmental
effects, may be visible from most areas of the Caribbean.
Under favorable atmospheric conditions, sightings also could
be possible from southern Florida. For observers with
favorable viewing conditions, a release will appear as a
glowing green area, roughly circular in shape.

This summer's CRRES experiments follow a number of
successful investigations conducted since the satellite was
launched in July 1990. A series of high-altitude experiments
in January and February of this year studied the response of
the space environment to injection of artificial clouds of
charged particles. The experiments focused specifically on
the whether it is possible to artificially stimulate auroral
phenomena.

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A September 1990 experiment proved a theory known as
critical velocity ionization. The finding has shed new light
on the effects space gasses and particles may have on future
space activities.

The NASA portion of the CRRES program is managed for the
Office of Space Science and Applications by the Marshall Space
Flight Center, Huntsville, Ala. The Department of Defense's
Air Force Space Test and Transportation Program provides
overall program management. The satellite is operated by the
Air Force at Onizuka Air Force Base, Sunnyvale, Calif.

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Note to Editors: Information on equipment needed to
photograph the chemical releases and a Caribbean release and
viewing opportunities chart are available from the NASA
Newsroom (Phone: 202/453-8400).