In this question, there is discussion of charge buildup on a spacecraft.

Is it possible for a spacecraft to measure its own charge?

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    $\begingroup$ Electrical charge (measured in, among other units, Coulomb) is not the same thing as electric potential (measured in volts). $\endgroup$
    – user
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 20:00
  • $\begingroup$ But electric charge and electric potential are related by the electric capacity measured in Farad, see en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitance $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Commented Feb 15, 2017 at 9:05
  • $\begingroup$ voting to close as duplicate because the answer there is more thorough. However it still describes a potential measurement rather than a charge measurement which I admit I've been a stickler about... $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Dec 12, 2019 at 3:23

1 Answer 1


The ISS has a device called the Floating Potential Measurement Unit that handles this task. The linked page has a link to a pdf that describes it in more detail.

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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps a capsule summary of the linked information would be helpful... $\endgroup$
    – BobT
    Commented Feb 13, 2017 at 20:45
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    $\begingroup$ Your answers are often great. But the question seems to be about charge, not potential. That's based on two uses of the word "charge" there plus the reference to the linked question How is charge dissipated in ion-propulsed spacecraft?. Also, since links tend to break over time, a minimal self-contained answer would be better than "it is measured with a measuring unit, and here is where its pdf was in early 2017". $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 5:07
  • $\begingroup$ To be honest, I don't know much about it other than that it exists and that it was put in place to quantify the degree to which ISS gets charged relative to the plasma environment. I invite anyone else who is so inclined to dig deeper and improve on this answer. $\endgroup$
    – Tristan
    Commented Feb 14, 2017 at 18:40

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