Transient potential modification of large spacecraft due to electron emissions

Sven G. Bilen, Victor M. Agüero, Brian E. Gilchrist, W. John Raitt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The transient potential response of a large spacecraft structure in low Earth orbit due to electron generator emissions has been investigated experimentally using the Tethered Satellite System on NASA's Space Shuttle and by equivalent-circuit-model simulations. The model simulations of this highly distributed and complex structure demonstrate that useful predictions of high-speed potential behavior and charging levels can be made. Our experimental results were obtained when an electron generator emitted pulses into the surrounding nighttime ionospheric plasma. Because of the surrounding plasma's low density, the electron generator modified the Shuttle's potential quickly and by several volts. Our experimental system measured the resulting voltage transients by selectively sampling the system voltage in high-speed bursts. The model simulations show that the transient potential response of the system is due to a combination of the system's electrical circuit and the modification of the Shuttle's potential due to the electron generator emissions. Computer simulations also were used to perform parametric studies of transient spacecraft potential modification for varying plasma densities, electron-beam currents, and electron collection areas. These results have implications for the use and simulation of electron generators that actively modify the potential of their host spacecraft.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)655-661
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Spacecraft and Rockets
Volume34
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 1997

Fingerprint

Electron emission
electron emission
Spacecraft
spacecraft
electron
Electrons
generators
electrons
plasma
simulation
tethered satellites
Plasmas
spacecraft structures
high speed
Pulse generators
space shuttle
Plasma density
Space shuttles
Electric potential
space shuttles

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science

Cite this

Bilen, Sven G. ; Agüero, Victor M. ; Gilchrist, Brian E. ; Raitt, W. John. / Transient potential modification of large spacecraft due to electron emissions. In: Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets. 1997 ; Vol. 34, No. 5. pp. 655-661.
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Bilen, SG, Agüero, VM, Gilchrist, BE & Raitt, WJ 1997, 'Transient potential modification of large spacecraft due to electron emissions', Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, vol. 34, no. 5, pp. 655-661.

Transient potential modification of large spacecraft due to electron emissions. / Bilen, Sven G.; Agüero, Victor M.; Gilchrist, Brian E.; Raitt, W. John.

In: Journal of Spacecraft and Rockets, Vol. 34, No. 5, 01.09.1997, p. 655-661.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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