Disturbance of plasma environment in the vicinity of the Astrid-2 microsatellite
Abstract. The presence of a satellite disturbs the ambient plasma. The charging of the spacecraft creates a sheath around it, and the motion of the satellite creates a wake disturbance. This modification of the plasma environment introduces difficulties in measuring electric fields and plasma densities using the probe technique. We present a study of the structure of the sheath and wake around the Astrid-2 microsatellite, as observed by the probes of the EMMA and LINDA instruments. Measurements with biased LINDA probes, as well as current sweeps on the EMMA probes, show a density enhancement upstream of the satellite and a plasma depletion behind the satellite. The electric field probes detect disturbances in the plasma potential on magnetic field lines connected to the satellite.
Key words. Space plasma physics (spacecraft sheaths, wakes, charging; instruments and techniques)