Dr. Kenneth H. Wright, Jr.
Manager, Space Sciences Group
Email: KWright @ usra.edu
My scientific research interest is the interaction of objects (planets, moons, spacecraft, etc.) with space environments (plasma, UV, radiation, etc.). I have pursued this research in both ground-based experiments and small and large space-flight missions. My roles and responsibilities have spanned a wide range of activities that include project life cycles; system engineering and integration; hardware development, space environment testing, and certification; data analysis; and publication of technical results.
Space Flight Projects
- Plasma Diagnostics Package (PDP) flown on Space Shuttle missions STS-3 (3/22/1982 – 3/30/1982) and Spacelab-2 (7/29/1985 - 8/6/1985)
- Research on Orbital Plasma Electrodynamics (ROPE) experiment for both flights of the Tethered Satellite System (TSS-1: space shuttle mission STS-46 7/31/1992 - 8/8/1992; TSS-1R: space shuttle mission STS-75 2/22/1996 - 3/6/1996).
- Plasma Experiment Satellite Test (PEST) payload for the Joint Air Force/Weber State Satellite (JAWSAT) launched Jan. 2000 aboard the first Air Force Minotaur rocket.
- Propulsive Small Expendable Deployer System (ProSEDS). Secondary payload ready for launch on Delta-II denied in March 2003 for circumstances outside the ProSEDS project control.
- Floating Potential Measurement Unit (FPMU) installed on the International Space Station in 2006.
- Solar Wind Electrons, Alphas, and Protons ,(SWEAP) investigation for the NASA Parker Solar Probe (PSP) mission – launched on August 12, 2018.
Ground Based Experiments/Testing
- Plasma wake studies with single and binary ion plasmas
- Combined space environment testing of solar array coupons
- Electrostatic disharge (ESD) testing of materials
- Electric sail experiments (interaction of flowing plasma with positive bias wire)
Solar Probe Cup (SPC) testing for PSP mission: plasma testing for development model, qualification model, and flight model calibration.
- Plasma Instrument for Magnetic Sounding (PIMS) instrument for the Europa Clipper mission - plasma and thermal balance testing on pre-CDR development unit.
B.S., Engineering Physics, University of Tennessee-Knoxville
M.S., Ph.D., Physics, University of Alabama in Huntsville