On the Physical Origin and Prediction of Killer Electron Storms
Killer electrons with energies greater than 1 MeV are the main environmental hazard to Earth orbiting satellites, causing single event upsets (SEU) in logic or memory circuits and catastrophic high-voltage discharges due to deep dielectric discharges (DDD). The loss of the Telstar 401 communications satellite on January 11, 1997, was thought to be due to a DDD occurring 24 hours after a sudden, thousand-fold increase in killer electrons. Yet despite the ~40 years of work since the discovery of the outer radiation belts, the origin of killer electrons is still unknown. Measurements taken onboard the POLAR satellite this past year have revealed a population of 20--1500 keV electrons with pitch angles, 60
Boston University Center for Space Physics
Sheldon, R.; Spence, Harlan E.; Sullivan, J. D.; Fritz, T. E.; and Chen, J., "On the Physical Origin and Prediction of Killer Electron Storms" (1998). Physics Scholarship. 254.