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Spacecraft Protection against Electrostatic Discharge Application to the Arabsat Spacecraft,

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This paper summarizes the protections against ESD effects which were implemented on the ARABSAT spacecraft, and their results after about one year of operational lifetime. AEROSPATIALE, as prime contractor of the ARABSAT spacecraft, has taken advantage of past and recent experience of ESD adverse effects on other spacecraft, to further improve the ARABSAT design in this matter. This paper first recalls the origins of ESD phenomena on geostationary spacecraft and which kinds of effects may be observed in flight. The METEOSAT spacecraft, also built under AEROSPATIALE prime contract, is taken as an example. Next, the ARABSAT spacecraft mission and main features are summarized. This paper then gives a list of the basic design rules concerning ESD which were applied on ARABSAT these rules were established taking into account not only AEROSPATIALEs own experience, but also by consulting various specialists of ESA, CNES and DERTS. Finally, the in-flight experience of the two ARABSAT spacecraft is presented, starting from the two launches. The extreme scarcity of events which might be attributed to ESD phenomena one single event per spacecraft in the first year allows us to think that the overall ARABSAT design is satisfactory as far as ESD is concerned.

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  • Electricity and Magnetism
  • Unmanned Spacecraft

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