The launch of Skylab on 14 May 1973 created a temporary, large‐scale hole in the ionosphere. The “hole,” a depletion of the total electron content of the ionosphere that spanned a spatial region of 1000 to 2000 km and a time period of 2 to 3 hours, was observed and subsequently analyzed by Michael Mendillo (Boston University), Gerald S. Hawkins (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory) and John A. Klobuchar (Air Force Cambridge Research Laboratory). They assert that the electrons were lost because of exceptionally rapid chemical recombination of the electrons with oxygen ions that was caused by the molecular hydrogen and water vapor from the exhaust of the Saturn V rocket engines.

This content is only available via PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.