Spacecraft Charging - Present Situation and Some Problems
AIR FORCE RESEARCH LAB HANSCOM AFB MA SPACE VEHICLES DIRECTORATE
Pagination or Media Count:
The geosynchronous environment is the most important region in the magnetosphere for spacecraft charging because the plasma temperature can be very high the plasma density is sometimes very low, and most communications satellites are there. It is now well understood that, for a given surface material, there exists a critical plasma temperature above which spacecraft charging to negative potentials occurs. High energy MeVs electrons and ions penetrate into material to different depth. At energies below 100 MeV, electrons penetrate deeper than ions, and may remain in a deep layer, causing a high electric field. High energy killer electrons can cause deep dielectric charging and spacecraft anomalies. Studies of correlations of coronal mass Ejections, and exo-events, when a satellite gets outside of the magnetosphere are needed. Spacecraft used for planetary studies can also be affected. More study is also needed to determine whether surface charging or deep dielectric charging is more damaging to satellites.
- Electricity and Magnetism