Use of a Langmuir Probe Instrument on Board a Pico-Satellite
De Keyser, J.
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The sweeping Langmuir probe instrument is a part of the payload of PICo-satellite for atmospheric and space science observations (PICASSO), an ESA in-orbit demonstrator. It includes four thin cylindrical probes whose electrical potential is swept to measure both plasma density and electron temperature together with the spacecraft (S/C) potential. PICASSO is a triple unit CubeSat of dimensions $340.5 mm x 100 mm x 100$ mm. The orbit is expected to be a high inclination low-earth orbit. The main issue implied by the use of a pico-satellite platform for a Langmuir probe instrument is the limited conducting area of the S/C, which leads to S/C charging and drift of the instrument's electrical ground during the measurement. A specific measurement technique that includes the simultaneous measurement of the potential and current of different probes has been developed to retrieve consistent current-voltage characteristics that can be used to estimate the plasma parameters mentioned above.
CitationRanvier, S.; Anciaux, M.; Cardoen, P.; Gamby, E.; Bonnewijn, I.S.; De Keyser, J.; Pieroux, D.; Lebreton J.P. (2017). Use of a Langmuir Probe Instrument on Board a Pico-Satellite. , IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science, Vol. 45, Issue 8, 2007-2012, DOI: 10.1109/TPS.2017.2700211.