The concentration and size distribution of aerosol in the stratospheric exhaust plumes of two Space Shuttle rockets and one Titan IV rocket were measured using a two component aerosol sampling system carried aboard a WB‐57F aircraft. Aerosol size distribution in the 0.01 µm to 4 µm diameter size range was measured using a two component sampling system. The measured distributions display a trimodal form with modes near 0.005 µm, 0.09 µm, and 2.03 µm and are used to infer the relative mass fractionation among the three modes. While the smallest mode has been estimated to contain as much as 10% of the total mass of SRM exhaust alumina, we find show that the smallest mode contains less than 0.05% of the alumina mass. This fraction is so small so as to significantly reduce the likelihood that heterogeneous reactions on the SRM alumina surfaces could produce a significant global impact on stratospheric chemistry.



Second Department


Keywords and Phrases

Alumina; Chemical Activation; Chlorine; Exhaust Gases; Particle Size Analysis; Space Shuttles; Surface Chemistry; Upper Atmosphere; Alumina; Rocket Engines; Rockets; Size Distribution; Space Shuttles; Thermal Plumes; Chlorine Activation; Global Transport; Plume Measurement; Solid Rocket Motor; Atmospheric Aerosols; Aerosols

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)


Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Final Version

File Type





© 1999 American Geophysical Union (AGU), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Apr 1999