Physical Sciences Inc (PSI) has been awarded a research program from the US Air Force Research Laboratory, to optimize and scale-up a paintable cathode coating for the prevention of electrostatic discharge (ESD) from spacecraft operating in the low earth orbit (LEO) and geosynchronous orbit (GEO) plasma environments.
PSI has developed a paintable coating that can be applied directly to spacecraft and spacecraft components or pre-applied to laminar materials for latter application to spacecraft. The paintable coating will afford spacecraft in LEO and GEO an added layer of protection against catastrophic electrostatic discharge events, which represents a potential total loss scenario that can easily and affordably be guarded against. No electrical wiring connection to or power from the spacecraft is required. The coating developed under this program has negligible impact on the size, weight, power and cost (SWaP-C) of spacecraft, decreasing risk to assets at a low premium investment.
The commercial applications of the coating are the same as the military and scientific applications – protection of expensive, mission critical, difficult to replace space assets with minimal cost, effort and impact on the mission. Additional benefits of this research (and the solid-state cathode devices generated in addition to the coatings) include potential applications to electrodynamic tether propulsion and terrestrial spinoff applications in the realm of powered cathode devices.
For more information, contact:
Dr. Dorin Preda
Group Leader, Material Technologies
Physical Sciences Inc.
Telephone: (978) 689-0003