Determining the evolution and effects of hypervelocity plasma plumes
- Spacecraft are a major component of infrastructure and are essential to modern society. Though launch opportunities are expected to become less expensive and more frequent through commercial launch providers, spacecraft design, manufacturing, and deployment processes are far from routine. In addition, a spacecraft's operational environment is riddled with numerous hazards that may jeopardize its performance, and with a cost to orbit of $10000 per pound, there is a desire to protect our space assets and mitigate against damage. Meteoroids and orbital debris, which are components of the space environment, are two such threats to space vehicles. While larger objects endanger spacecraft mechanically, collisions are rare; however, bodies with masses smaller than a milligram impact frequently and at speeds up to 72.8 km s−1 if in solar orbit. Shortly after contact, projectile and spacecraft materials vaporize and ionize, resulting in an expanding plasma that may interfere with onboard sensors and equipment. These hypervelocity impacts have potentially been the source of unexplained electronic anomalies through arc discharge and electromagnetic emission mechanisms. To better understand the plasma structure, hypervelocity impact experiments were conducted at the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany. Using their Van de Graaff dust accelerator and vacuum chamber, iron dust particles impacted typical spacecraft material targets with surface potentials ranging from −1000V to 1000V, representing charging conditions experienced in orbit. During this experiment, a suite of sensors measured impact plasma properties; among these sensors are two distinct arrays of charge collecting plates, termed Faraday Plate Arrays, positioned to describe the plasma's range and azimuthal distributions. Along with experimental measurements, a multi-species plasma expansion model was developed to determine the evolution and sensitivity of hypervelocity plasma plumes. In conjunction, these results indicate that sensor measurements are extremely sensitive to impact and sensor locations, especially as the target bias increases. Agreement between the simulated output and the sensor measurements provide confidence in the model's ability to replicate the plume accurately. Consequently, the model is used to provide initial plasma temperature and bulk expansion speed estimates, to explore the sensitivity of our measurements to shifts in sensor position, and to identify potentially hazardous regions on spacecraft. Despite having the multi-species model, all components cannot be positioned out of harm's way and free from potential upsets. To investigate hypervelocity impact plasma and other space envi- ronment effects on electronics, the CubeSat Reliability Experiment (CRX) was developed. The 1U customizable CubeSat-compatible platform tests commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) electronic compo- nents through direct exposure to the space environment. Though unconventional, integrating COTS can increase capability while reducing cost of satellites and space vehicles. The system reports mea- surable health and environmental characteristics from the shielded (control) and externally exposed (test) devices to the spacecraft bus. Data comparisons of the control and test groups indicate a part's reliability in the space environment. The CRX system architecture was tailored to demon- strate a prototype implementation of hardware and software designs for a metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET) component. This prototype establishes the system as an effective, low-cost utility to expand the list of qualified space-ready parts by determining accurate reliabilities of COTS components.
|Type of resource
|electronic; electronic resource; remote
|1 online resource.
|Tarantino, Paul Michael
|Stanford University, Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
|Close, Sigrid, 1971-
|Close, Sigrid, 1971-
|Statement of responsibility
|Paul Michael Tarantino.
|Submitted to the Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
|Thesis (Ph.D.)--Stanford University, 2018.
- © 2018 by Paul Michael Tarantino
- This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial 3.0 Unported license (CC BY-NC).
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