The interplanetary space environment is composed mostly of low energy (E < 100 keV) plasma from the solar wind and high energy (E > 1 MeV) protons from solar energetic particle events. Satellites orbiting Earth are shielded to some degree from these events by the Earth's magnetic field but spacecraft traveling between planets and space nuclear systems on the lunar or Martian surface are exposed to these solar protons directly. A major concern for spacecraft is bulk dielectric charging, a form of spacecraft charging that can lead to dielectric discharges, a form of internal electrostatic discharge (IESD) that can damage sensitive electronics. The majority of research regarding IESD has been concerned with the electrons in the space environment around the Earth and at Jupiter; little research has been done on the charging of spacecraft in interplanetary space due to solar event protons. This paper provides a review of the literature regarding IESD due to protons and presents the results of recent laboratory experiments. Topics for further research are also suggested.
Space Technology and Applications International Forum - STAIF 2006
- Pub Date:
- January 2006
- Spacecraft sheaths wakes and charging;
- Particle emission solar wind;
- Spaceborne and space research instruments apparatus and components