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Team title: Surface Charging Effects and the Relevant Space Environment

Team ID: G3-02

Team Leads:


Keywords: (Aero)space assets functions


Spacecraft charging occurs when charged particles from the surrounding plasma and energetic particle environment stop on the spacecraft, either on the surface (surface charging), on interior parts (internal charging), in dielectrics (internal charging), or in conductors (internal charging). Other items affecting charging include biased solar arrays or plasma emitters. Charging can also occur when photoemission occurs; that is, solar photons cause surfaces to emit photoelectrons. What occurs after that determines whether the charging causes problems or not.

A few eV to 50 keV electrons are considered source for surface charging (Matéo-Vélez et al., 2018) and electrons greater than 100 keV (>100 keV) are responsible for internal charging (the main source is radiation belt electrons). Sometimes it is difficult to differentiate between surface charging and internal charging as the root cause of an anomaly. The transitional energy of surface charging and internal charging is usually considered to be ~50 keV – 100 keV. Ring current, aurora and plasma sheet particles can be potential space environmental sources for surface charging. 


1. Finding surface charging events
2. Model performance assessment and improvement 
3. space environment model scoreboard that is relevant to surface charging

Expected output
More systematic assessment of model performance under different conditions
Better near-realtime monitoring and/or forecasting capabilities of surface charging environment

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