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Long-Term Study of Active Spacecraft Potential Control
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2008 (English)In: IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, ISSN 0093-3813, E-ISSN 1939-9375, Vol. 36, no 5, 2294-2300 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Emitters based on the liquid metal ion source principle have been operating on the Cluster spacecraft between 2000 and 2004, in order to control the spacecraft potential. The resulting reduction of positive spacecraft potential reduces perturbations to the plasma measurements on board. Ion currents up to 40 [LA have been applied, which reduced the energy band in which photoelectrons disturb the plasma electron measurements to values close to the lower detection limit of the instrument. The experience with this method, meanwhile, covers both the maximum and minimum of the present solar cycle and allows one to study the variations of photoemission and other long-term trends and their effects on the measurements. A long-term trend of the controlled spacecraft potential is indeed observed. In addition, it appears that reconstruction of the uncontrolled spacecraft potential from the controlled one is possible if certain conditions are fulfilled. Spacecraft potential control can thereby improve the plasma measurements while still allowing one to estimate the total plasma density from the residual potential.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 36, no 5, 2294-2300 p.
Keyword [en]
Extraterrestrial measurements, ion-beam applications, ion emission, ion, sources, satellite applications, space technology, space vehicle control, cluster
URN: urn:nbn:se:kth:diva-18025DOI: 10.1109/tps.2008.2003134ISI: 000261363200010ScopusID: 2-s2.0-59749098726OAI: diva2:336070
QC 20100525Available from: 2010-08-05 Created: 2010-08-05Bibliographically approved

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Lindqvist, Per-Arne
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