Satellite Surface Charging

Satellites and other spacecraft are often outfitted with high-voltage solar panels in order to minimize the overall payload requirements over more massive, low voltage arrays. However, these high voltage solar panels often suffer arcing and breakdown problems when operating in the space environment as charged particles build up on the spacecraft surfaces. Predicting where this build up could occurs allows engineers to create more robust spacecraft designs.

Using VSim, the geometry and background space plasma parameters can be modified to test satellite inner body voltages.

Simulations can be run for various ion sources such as naturally occurring solar wind, or plasma resulting from electric thruster plasma plumes.