Particle in Cell Simulation to Study the Charging and Evolution of Wake Structure of LEO Spacecraft

  • Nizam AhmadEmail author
  • Hideyuki Usui
  • Yohei Miyake
Conference paper
Part of the Communications in Computer and Information Science book series (CCIS, volume 946)


In this study, we performed the simulation to study the charging and the wake structure in the downstream region of the Low Earth Orbit satellite, ERS-1, in the presence of auroral electrons. We applied a tool called EMSES (Electro Magnetic Spacecraft Environment Simulator) developed based on Particle-in-cell (PIC) code. We classified the simulation into two cases, i.e., in the absence of auroral electrons (case #1) and in the presence of auroral electrons (case #2). The results show that the satellite potential dropped to −2 V for case #1, whereas in case #2 the potential decreased down to −2.4 V. In addition, we found the different features of the wake structure in which the wake structure distorted inward as the object more negatively charged due to the presence of auroral electrons. In order to get higher charging on the spacecraft, case #3, the density of auroral electron is increased 100 times, thus the flux ratio of auroral electron to ambient plasma becomes unity. The magnitude of negative potential increases 5 times compared to case #2. Furthermore, the distorted wake structure in case #2 in the ion profile disappeared and turned out to be ion focusing around the wake centerline shown in case #3.


LEO satellite Charging and wake structure Particle in cell 



We would like to thank Kobe University to facilitate our research activities in using KDK and π- supercomputer to get invention in our study. We much appreciate for NASA that has provided an open accessed data to be used in this study. The main author specifically thank the Indonesian National Institute of Aeronautics and Space (LAPAN) and the Ministry of Research and Technology under Secretariat of Project Management Office (PMO) Research and Innovation in Science and Technology Project (RISET-PRO) for their support of research activities during the Ph.D. study program.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of System InformaticsKobe UniversityKobeJapan
  2. 2.National Institute of Aeronautics and Space – LAPANPulo GadungIndonesia

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