A Novel Spacecraft Charge Monitor for LEO
- Goembel, Luke
- March 2004.
- Physical Description:
- 1 electronic document
- Restrictions on Access:
- Unclassified, Unlimited, Publicly available.
- Five years ago we introduced a new method for measuring spacecraft chassis floating potential relative to the space plasma (absolute spacecraft potential) in low Earth orbit. The method, based on a straightforward interpretation of photoelectron spectra, shows promise for numerous applications, but has not yet been tried. In the interest of testing the method, and ultimately supplying another tool for measuring absolute spacecraft charge, we are producing a flight prototype Spacecraft Charge Monitor (SCM) with support from NASA's Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program. Although insight into the technique came from data collected in space over two decades ago, very little data are available. The data indicate that it may be possible to determine spacecraft floating potential to within 0.1 volt each with the SCM second under certain conditions. It is debatable that spacecraft floating potential has ever been measured with such accuracy. The compact, easily deployed SCM also offers the advantage of long-term stability in calibration. Accurate floating potential determinations from the SCM could be used to correct biases in space plasma measurements and evaluate charge mitigation and/or sensing devices. Although this paper focuses on the device's use in low Earth orbit (LEO), the device may also be able to measure spacecraft charge at higher altitudes, in the solar wind, and in orbits around other planets. The flight prototype SCM we are producing for delivery to NASA in the third quarter of 2004 will measure floating potential from 0 to -150 volts with 0.1 volt precision, weigh approximately 600-700 grams, consume approximately 2 watts, and will measure approximately 8 x 10 x 17 cm.
- NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS) Collection.
- Document ID: 20040111051.
8th Spacecraft Charging Technology Conference; NASA/CP-2004-213091.
- No Copyright.
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