Spacecraft Charging: Observations and Relationship to Satellite Anomalies
AEROSPACE CORP EL SEGUNDO CA LAB OPERATIONS
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Many studies have shown that satellite charging can cause anomalies on spacecraft. The SCATHA Spacecraft Charging AT High Altitude satellite was flown to determine the conditions and document the existence of satellite charging. It was instrumented to measure charging and to detect electrostatic discharges that occurred. Discharges were observed and could be characterized as either surface or internal charging related. More recently, observations were made of charging on a high-inclination Earth-orbiting HBO satellite. Both the HBO and SCATHA charging data show occurrence patterns that are consistent with the expected motions of substorm-injected plasma electrons. The SCATHA data was taken in the near-geosynchronous orbit and the HBO data was taken over a wide range of altitudes in a 630 inclination orbit. The SCATHA data showed that the internal discharge rates were related to the intensities of energetic electrons Ee 100 keV and that, statistically, their occurrence peaked near local noon. These results can be understood in terms of the flux levels of electrons that can penetrate shielding. The HBO energetic particle data have been combined with CRRES, GOES, and GPS data to estimate some worst-case levels of internal charging fluxes.
- Unmanned Spacecraft