Surface Charging

Surface Charging Simulations of an Orion-like Spacecraft in a Geo Space Plasma


Surface charging in a space plasma environment is a critical safety issue for many space vehicles. This is particularly true for vehicles that spend time in geosynchronous altitudes. We present results on surface charging for an Orion-like spacecraft in a geosynchronous plasma environment, examining sensitivities to material input parameters and sunlight illumination scenarios. Our surface charging simulation is performed using the Nascap2k spacecraft charging software suite. In our approach, we have created and implemented EMA3D® software tools that enable the user to generate Nascap-2k objects for simulation from an external CAD platform, resulting in realistic geometries with reduced development time. We demonstrate our geometry development techniques and present results on differential voltages between adjacent surfaces, normal surface E-fields, voltage to plasma, and numerical stability of our simulations.