The nightside particle environment as observed by the AFGL Rapid Scan Particle Detector on SCATHA showing large, sudden simultaneous changes in the fluxes of electrons and protons with energies above 50 keV (dropouts) is considered. An interesting feature of SCATHA dropouts is the quasiperiodic behavior of the particle flux amplitudes which often vary with a period of the order of 15 minutes both during the dropout and after the return. A flux return during eclipse caused a major spacecraft charging event of several kilovolts. The SCATHA observations are compared with those reported for other geosynchronous satellites. In agreement with ATS-5, a marked dependence in the frequency of occurrence due to an effect of the orbit is found. ATS-5 experienced few dropouts during quiet geomagnetic conditions. However, for an L shell greater than seven, SCATHA particle dropouts occur routinely during quiet conditions. Thus, for SCATHA's orbit, both the orbital position and geomagnetic conditions must be taken into account in evaluating the potential hazard of flux returns.
SPACECRAFT DESIGN, TESTING AND PERFORMANCE
NASA. Lewis Research Center Spacecraft Charging Technol., 1980; p 755-767