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PIX 1, 2


The PIX (Plasma Interaction Experiment) experiments were add-on experiments mounted on Delta second stages to investigate high voltage discharge and arcing on spacecraft components.

PIX 1 consisted of a 96 cm by 81 cm experiment plate mounted on one side of the Delta-2910 stage while an electronics box was on an other side. PIX 1 was conceived to gain some data, which the failed SPHINX A spacecraft should have provided, until the more sophisticated DoD/NASA P78-2 SCATHA satellite was flown. The payload consisted of a sample solar cell and some insulation experiments.

PIX 2 was a similar experiment flown some years later on the Delta-3910, which launched IRAS, featuring sample solar cells and a Langmuir probe. The PIX 2 consisted of an approximately 2000 cm2 array divided into four equal segments. Each of the segments could be biased independently and the current measured separately. In addition to the solar array segments, PIX 2 had a hot-wire-filament electron emitter and a spherical Langmuir probe. The emitter was operated when the array segments were biased positively above 125 V. Thermal electrons from the emitter aided in balancing the electron currents collected by the array.

Nation: USA
Type / Application: Research
Operator: NASA Lewis Research Center
Contractors: NASA Lewis Research Center
Configuration: Experiments on Delta second stage
Propulsion: None in orbit
Power: Batteries
Mass: 34 kg (experiment only) (#1); 45 kg (experiment only) (#2)
Orbit: 668 km × 875 km, 98.6 (#1); 855 km × 887 km 100.0
Satellite COSPAR Date LS Launch Vehicle Remarks
PIX 1 1978-026C 05.03.1978 Va SLC-2W Delta-2910 with Landsat 3, AMSAT P2D
PIX 2 1983-004B 26.01.1983 Va SLC-2W Delta-3910 with IRAS

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