Dynamic Interplay Between Spacecraft Charging, Space Environment Interactions and Evolving Materials

JR Dennison, Utah State University


While the effects on spacecraft charging from varying environmental conditions and from the selection of different construction materials have been studied extensively, modification of materials properties by exposure to the space plasma environment can also have profound effects on spacecraft charging. Given the increasingly demanding nature of space missions, there is a clear need to extend our understanding of the dynamic nature of material properties that affect spacecraft charging and to expand our knowledge base of materials’ responses to specific environmental conditions so that we can more reliably predict the long term response of spacecraft to their environment. This paper focuses on the effects of environment-induced material modifications on physical properties relevant to spacecraft charging simulations. It also reviews several specific examples in which environment-induced material modifications have significant impact on predicted spacecraft charging.