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Title

Near-infrared Spectroscopy of the Stardust Sample Return Capsule Entry: Detection of Carbon

Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets

Volume

47

Issue

6

Publisher

American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Publication Date

11-2010

First Page

878

DOI

10.2514/1.38075

Abstract

The 1069 nm line of atomic carbon was detected in radiation emitted during the 15 January 2006 reentry of the Stardust sample return capsule. In time-averaged data, the corresponding weaker lines in the range of 960–966 nm were also present. The spectra covered the wavelength range from 930 to 1075 nm at a spectral full-width-at-halfmaximum resolution of 1.6 nm. The integrated 1069 nm line intensity decreased from 737 44 W=m2=nm=sr at 80.7 km altitude (09:57:16.5 Universal Time) to 432 44 W=m2=nm=sr at 70.9 km altitude (09:57:24.5 Universal Time). At the same time, the 1011 nm blend of nitrogen lines increased from 2110 29 to 5378 42 W=m2=nm=sr. Absolute calibration errors add to these values a systematic uncertainty of about 20%. The capsule’s heat shield consisted of a phenol-impregnated carbon ablator. Hence, the intensity of the carbon-atom line emission is a measure of the ablation rate during descent, but it also depends on the details of carbon-atom ablation and the excitation in the shock layer.

Comments

Published by American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics in Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets.

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