Document Type

Article

Journal/Book Title/Conference

IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science

Volume

45

Issue

8

Publisher

IEEE

Publication Date

8-2017

First Page

2031

Last Page

2035

DOI

10.1109/TPS.2017.2655885

Abstract

Electrostatic discharge (ESD) continues to pose significant risks to space missions despite decades of intense study. Tabulated values of material breakdown strength used in spacecraft charging models are often based on cursory measurements that may not be fully relevant to a given mission. Materials physics offers insight into the pertinent variables that affect breakdown and how to address them experimentally for spacecraft applications. We present measured distributions of ESD data across several test configurations for three polymeric materials that, taken together, begin to provide an understanding of how to estimate the likelihood of ESD events over a spacecraft’s mission lifetime. We discuss how consequences of these results apply to spacecraft charging modelling and design considerations.

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