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  • A preliminary review of the upper atmosphere observations made during the Saturn water experiment

    Paper ID



    • Kurt H. Debus
    • William G. Johnson
    • Ray V. Hembree
    • Charles A. Lundquist


    Launch Operations Center, National Aeronautics and Space Administration






    A secondary objective of the second flight test of the Saturn booster stage was to observe phenomena associated with the release of a large quantity of water into the lower ionosphere. The 86, 000 kg of water, carried as ballast in the upper stages of the Saturn C-l configuration, were released by explosive rupture of the tanks at 105 km of altitude. Visually, a rapidly expanding cloud was observed which reached a diameter of the order of 10 km in about 3 sec. Cloud development was recorded photographically, and characteristics of growth and decay have been studied. Signal strength measurements made at frequencies ranging from 10 kc/ sec to 230 mc/sec indicate that radio frequency noises generated by e- lectrical discharge were associated with the cloud. Observations were made of the cloud by radars, including equipment specifically developed for meteorological observations. Ionospheric observations were made during the time of water release.