Accession Number : ADP002116

Title :   Shuttle Orbiter Charging in Polar Earth Orbit,

Corporate Author : AIR FORCE GEOPHYSICS LAB HANSCOM AFB MA

Personal Author(s) : Rubin,A. G. ; Besse,A. L.

Report Date : 25 JAN 1983

Pagination or Media Count : 11

Abstract : Spacecraft in polar orbit are subject to charging by the intense electron stream that comprises the aurora. Charging is computed according to the Laframboise theory of plasma probes in which the variation of sheath thickness with potential is taken into account. In this environment spacecraft charge to potentials that depend on their size. It is shown that large spacecraft charge to higher potentials than small spacecraft. The shuttle orbiter being a large spacecraft, may charge to more than 6 kV passing through an intense beam of auroral electrons. Because of the deficiency of ambient ions in the near wake region, the rear of the vehicle will have the lowest threshold auroral current for charging and will charge to the highest potential. (Author)

Descriptors :   *Space charge, *Computations, *Spacecraft, Earth orbits, Ionosphere, Plasmas(Physics), Electron flux, Aurorae, Wake, Space shuttles

Distribution Statement : APPROVED FOR PUBLIC RELEASE