The Laboratory

The Electrostatics and Surface Physics Laboratory at the NASA Kennedy Space Center is the premier NASA research facility dedicated to investigation in electrostatics and surface physics problems with applications to space flight and planetary exploration. The laboratory is currently carrying out electrostatic analyses and materials characterization to assist in the detection, mitigation, and prevention of electrostatic charge generation on space flight hardware and Space Shuttle ground support equipment.

The laboratory is involved in NASA's Lunar Exploration program, developing technologies for the mitigation of lunar dust deposition on spacesuits, optical instruments, thermal radiators, solar panels, and other equipment during lunar exploration missions. The laboratory, in collaboration with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, has developed instrumentation for planetary exploration missions, in an effort to characterize the electrostatic properties of the environment.

Some recent and ongoing research projects in the laboratory include:

  • Development of Electrodynamic Dust Shields for dust mitigation on the moon and Mars
  • State-of-the-art characterization of Apollo lunar regolith
  • Electrostatic beneficiation of lunar regolith for In Situ resource unitization
  • Electrostatic Characterizaton of Space Shuttle and International Space Station thermal control system blankets
  • Electrostatic Characterization of Shuttle Crew Escape Equipment Life Preserver and Life Raft Inflators
  • Electrostatic Characterization of Shuttle hydrogen fuel lines
  • Electrostatic Characterization and design modification of the Shuttle Trust Vector Control Actuator blankets
  • Electrostatic precipitation for removal of contaminants in high-pressure nitrogen lines
  • Investigation of dust-generated plasma discharges on Mars as a mechanism in the degradation of organic matter
  • Electrostatics Evaluation and Design Recommendation of the Hubble Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph hardware
The laboratory possesses state-of-the-art equipment for electrostatics and suface physics research and testing, including five vacuum chambers capable of pressures of the order of millionths of kPa.


Page and Curator Information
Responsible NASA Official: Dr. Carlos Calle
Page Curator: Dr. Carlos Calle
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Last Updated: June 30, 2009