IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
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.
A. Andersen, J. R. Dennison and K. Moser, "Perspectives on the Distributions of ESD Breakdowns for Spacecraft Charging Applications," in IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, vol. 45, no. 8, pp. 2031-2035, Aug. 2017. DOI: 10.1109/TPS.2017.2655885