Spacecraft potential control for Double Star

Torkar, K.; Arends, H.; Baumjohann, W.; Escoubet, C. P.; Fazakerley, A.; Fehringer, M.; Fremuth, G.; Jeszenszky, H.; Laky, G.; Narheim, B. T.; Riedler, W.; Rüdenauer, F.; Steiger, W.; Svenes, K.; Zhao, H.

The spacecraft potential of Double Star TC-1 is positive in large parts of the orbits due to the photo-effect from solar EUV irradiation. These positive potentials typically disturb low energy plasma measurements on board. The potential can be reduced, and thereby the particle measurements improved, by emitting a positive ion beam. This method has successfully been applied on several other spacecraft and it has also been chosen for TC-1. The instrument TC-1/ASPOC is a derivative of the Cluster/ASPOC instruments, from which it has inherited many features. The paper describes the adaptations and further developments made for the ion emitters and the electronics. The instrument performs very well and can support higher beam currents than on Cluster. The expected significant improvement of the low energy particle measurements on board was indeed observed. The modifications of the electron distributions are analysed for a one-time interval when the spacecraft was located in the magnetosheath. The change in the potential due to the ion beam was determined, and first studies of the 3-D electron distributions in response to the spacecraft potential control have been performed, which indicate that the method works as expected.

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Torkar, K. / Arends, H. / Baumjohann, W. / et al: Spacecraft potential control for Double Star. 2005. Copernicus Publications.

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