Helios spacecraft HELIOS E5A


HELIOS was a joint German-American project to study interplanetary space and processes in the vicinity of the Sun using two nearly identical spacecraft. In addition to being a milestone of international cooperation in space, this project generated a vast wealth of scientific knowledge on solar-terrestrial relations and the associated data remain an important resource for ongoing studies.

HELIOS 1 was launched on December 10, 1974, and HELIOS 2 on January 15, 1976. Both were placed in elliptical orbits about the Sun with their perihelions well within the orbit of Mercury, aphelions at the orbit of Earth, and orbital periods of about 190 days.

Research instruments aboard each probe included:

Researchers from the University of Iowa, the University of Minnesota, and Goddard Space Flight Center were responsible for different aspects of Experiment 5, the plasma and radio wave experiments. The University of Iowa plasma wave experiment (E5A) utilized the 32 meter tip-to-tip dipole antenna to detect the electric component of plasma waves.

HELIOS E5A Plasma Wave Experiment

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