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Low power arcjet system spacecraft impactsPotential plume contamination of spacecraft surfaces was investigated by positioning spacecraft material samples relative to an arcjet thruster. Samples in the simulated solar array region were exposed to the cold gas arcjet plume for 40 hrs to address concerns about contamination by backstreaming diffusion pump oil. Except for one sample, no significant changes were measured in absorptance and emittance within experimental error. Concerns about surface property degradation due to electrostatic discharges led to the investigation of the discharge phenomenon of charged samples during arcjet ignition. Short duration exposure of charged samples demonstrated that potential differences are consistently and completely eliminated within the first second of exposure to a weakly ionized plume. The spark discharge mechanism was not the discharge phenomenon. The results suggest that the arcjet could act as a charge control device on spacecraft.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Pencil, Eric J. (NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Sarmiento, Charles J. (NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Lichtin, D. A. (NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Palchefsky, J. W. (NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Bogorad, A. L. (Martin Marietta Astro Space Princeton, NJ, United States)
Date Acquired
August 16, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 1993
Subject Category
Report/Patent Number
AIAA PAPER 93-2392
Meeting Information
AIAA, SAE, ASME, and ASEE, Joint Propulsion Conference and Exhibit(Monterey, CA)
Distribution Limits