Simplified MEO/GEO Charging Tools

2010-10-25 12:11 by David Rodgers

A contract has been signed between ESA and Artenum (F) in collaboration with EADS-Astrium (F), ONERA (F) and Swedish Space Corporation (S) for the creation of simplified MEO/GEO tools for spacecraft charging. The study kicked-off on 1st September 2010 and has a planned duration of 18 months. 

Spacecraft in MEO and GEO orbits are subject to high fluxes of hot plasma which can cause spacecraft to charge to up to tens of kV negative potential. High absolute charging levels are often accompanied by differential charging between surfaces, or between surfaces and ground, leading to electrostatic discharge. The electrical transients produced by discharges can damage electronic equipment, degrade materials, induce data corruption and cause the execution of spurious commands.
Because of the hazard of high charging levels. simulations of charging are often performed as part of a charging risk assessment. The ability of SPIS (Spacecraft Plasma Interaction Software) to perform such simulations has been demonstrated but the code is complicated to use. 

The aim of this activity is to develop a tool for the evaluation of surface electrostatic charging that can be used without specialized training and which guides the user in making appropriate choices for GEO/MEO applications. This will be based on the existing SPIS code and the new user interface will make use of the same numerical software library as the full SPIS code.

For further information, please contact David Rodgers.

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