Sunlight illumination models for spacecraft surface charging

Stuart Grey, Richard Marchand, Marek Ziebart, Roghaiya Omar

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6 Citations (Scopus)
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A model is developed to compute solar illumination of satellite components while accounting for multiple reflections, variable surface properties and illumination source size. This model is implemented in OpenCL and integrated with the parti- cle in cell (PIC) satellite-environment simulation code, PTetra, enabling kinetic simulations in which photoelectron emission resulting from direct illumination and multiple reflections are taken into account. Results for the Solar Orbiter spacecraft show a small change to the overall charging and a significant change to the charge distribution around the Solar Wind Analyzer instrument.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Early online date29 May 2017
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 29 May 2017


  • space vehicles
  • lighting
  • computational modeling
  • ray tracing
  • surface charging

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