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Satellite Wind Tunnel Studies for LEO Objects in the Ionosphere

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Technical Report,08 Sep 2017,07 Sep 2018

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University of New South Wales Kensington Australia

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The evolving nature of the challenges facing LEO activities requires advances in space traffic management capabilities that are contingent on an understanding of all the forces affecting a bodys motion. The aerodynamic interaction of LEO objects with the ionosphere ionospheric aerodynamics is currently not considered. This work presented a review of the early charged drag experiment performed by Knechtel and Pitts 1 and comparisons with predictions made using the PIC-DSMC code, pdFOAM. While uncertainties in the experimental description made an accurate reconstruction of the results in 1 difficult, the following observations were made pdFOAM was successfully able to reproduce trends observed experimentally in 1 scaling of plasma-body interactions must be able to account for artificial body potentials the design of experiments should carefully consider the coupling of phenomena if using body potential as a test parameter and the increase in charged drag forces on the small test model studied by Knechtel and Pitts 1 may have been primarily caused by an increase in relative sheath thickness and direct drag forces instead of indirect effects as previously hypothesized.

Subject Categories:

  • Unmanned Spacecraft
  • Astrophysics

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