Space Environment Testing
STI Personnel: Dr. Kenneth Wright
USRA/STI’s Dr. Ken Wright performed space environments effects testing on several hardware related items of NASA’s upcoming Europa Clipper mission which is led by the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in partnership with the John Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (JHU/APL). The NASA/MSFC Solar Wind Facility (SWF) was used to verify instrument design (e.g., energy range and angle range) for the Plasma Instrument for Magnetic Sounding (PIMS). PIMS role on Europa Clipper is to measure the plasma currents in Jupiter’s magnetosphere. JHU/APL is the Principal Investigator institution for PIMS.
Jupiter, located about 5 AU from the Sun, receives only 4% of the light intensity as compared to Earth along with possessing a much more intense radiation environment. Spacecraft materials and instruments must be carefully selected and designed to survive this cold and severe radiation environment. Various candidate spacecraft thermal control coatings and cables designs were tested at cold temperatures against electrostatic discharge susceptibility using various electrons sources. The information from this test campaign contributed toward successful completion of the mission Critical Design Review. Picture credit: Todd Schneider/NASA.
Other Programs Supported: