Abstract

The passage of a body moving at hypersonic velocities through the atmosphere of the earth is accompanied by the emission of electromagnetic radiation in the optical wavelengths (0.3–15 μ). This has been observed in the passage of meteors and the re-entry of ballistic missiles and manned space capsules. Spectroscopic observations of these phenomena yield significant information on the dynamic characteristics of the bodies and on the nature of the upper atmosphere. The performance of semistandard spectroscopic instruments, utilized by Barnes Engineering Company during ballistic missile re-entry measurements, and some typical results are discussed.

© 1964 Optical Society of America

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