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Potential of Earth Orbiting Spacecraft Influenced by Meteoroid Hypervelocity Impacts
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-2177-0955
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics. Swedish Institute of Space Physics, Kiruna, Sweden.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Physics. Arctic University of Norway, Tromsø, Norway.
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2017 (English)In: IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, ISSN 0093-3813, E-ISSN 1939-9375, Vol. 45, no 8, p. 2048-2055Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Detection of hypervelocity impacts on a spacecraft body using electric field instruments has been established as a new method for monitoring of dust grains in our solar system. Voyager, WIND, Cassini, and STEREO spacecraft have shown that this technique can be a complementary method to conventional dust detectors. This approach uses fast short time changes in the spacecraft potential generated by hypervelocity dust impacts, which can be detected by monopole electric field instruments as a pulse in the measured electric field. The shape and the duration of the pulse strongly depend on parameters of the ambient plasma environment. This fact is very important for Earth orbiting spacecraft crossing various regions of the Earth's magnetosphere where the concentration and the temperature of plasma particles change significantly. We present the numerical simulations of spacecraft charging focused on changes in the spacecraft potential generated by dust impacts in various locations of the Earth's magnetosphere. We show that identical dust impacts generate significantly larger pulses in regions with lower electron density. We discuss the influence of the photoelectron distribution for dust impact detections showing that a small amount of energetic photoelectrons significantly increases the potential of the spacecraft body and the pulse duration. We also show that the active spacecraft potential control (ASPOC) instrument onboard the cluster spacecraft strongly reduces the amplitude and the duration of the pulse resulting in difficulties of dust detection when ASPOC is ON. Simulation of dust impacts is compared with pulses detected by the Earth orbiting cluster spacecraft in the last part of Section III.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 45, no 8, p. 2048-2055
Keywords [en]
Dust grains, hypervelocity impacts, meteoroids, spacecraft charging
National Category
Fusion, Plasma and Space Physics
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-140978DOI: 10.1109/TPS.2017.2676984ISI: 000407374400031OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-140978DiVA, id: diva2:1154130
Funder
Swedish National Space Board, 110/14Swedish National Space Board, 77/14Available from: 2017-11-01 Created: 2017-11-01 Last updated: 2018-06-09Bibliographically approved

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Vaverka, JakubPellinen-Wannberg, AstaMann, IngridDe Spiegeleer, AlexandreHamrin, MariaNorberg, CarolPitkänen, Timo

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