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Miniature Equipment for Extended Lifetime of National Satellites. / July 20, 2017 /

At the MAKS-2017 International Aviation and Space Salon, the „Russian Space Systems“ Holding Company (part of ROSCOSMOS State Corporation) presented the miniature sensor equipment which will extend considerably the lifetime and improve the reliability of spacecraft, launching facilities, and jet engines. The equipment makes it possible to control the electrification parameters to protect the onboard electronics against interference and damage. The equipment is fully sealed and differs from its counterparts by miniature mass and size characteristics, high reliability and mechanical strength.

During flight a spacecraft is exposed to high-energy plasma streams and optical and other radiation. This results in its surface electrification; different sections may be charged in different ways subject to their orientation about the Sun and the electric potentials may be equal to tens of kilovolts.

The electrical voltages between some spacecraft surface sections generate the discharge risk resulting in failure in data transmission and breakdown of some electronics components. To control the onboard system operation and to activate the protection systems, the electrostatic field monitoring is used. To this end, spacecraft and carrier rockets are equipped with special-purpose sensors to control electrostatic fields and discharges.

N. Pushkin, Chief Designer on electrophysical measurements, Research & Production Corporation of Measuring Equipment (NPO IT, part of RKS) says: „Russia for the first time succeeded in making a truly miniature electrification system that may be installed on small spacecraft. The electrification sensors are three-channel and consist of sensitive element for measuring the constant electric field and flat antenna for measuring the alternating electric filed and irradiation. The last stage was the converter completion which became small in size.“

The efficient control of electrification needs several sensors to be installed on spacecraft that was not always possible in the past due to their size and weight. The miniaturization of electric filed sensors and converter allows this problem to be achieved.

The miniaturization of sensor equipment is the part of works on construction of onboard equipment for new generation small spacecraft – microsatellites and nanosatellites. A new electrification parameter sensor weights about 40 grams vs 300 grams of previous generation counterpart. The sensor capability for measuring the electric field strength in the range between 0 and 100kV/m was validated during the system testing on special stand.

The new sensor will be used also to control inside-device electrification on board future full-sized Russian spacecraft in geostationary, highly elliptical and polar orbits.

The equipment will be used in researching the electric field of the Earth and clouds when monitoring the lightning occurrence risk.

ROSCOSMOS Press Service

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