I would like to understand better what specifications or guidelines address the electrical grounding/Earthing a parabolic reflector Antenna in GEO to minimize the potential difference with respect to the local electrostatic potential in space.

I'm not interested in grounding circuits and shielding boards. I'd just like to know how to ground the antenna structure. Sources might include handbooks or standards.

In my case, the antenna structure will made from Carbon Fiber Reinforced Polymer (CFRP).

  • $\begingroup$ Someone will probably ask in comments "Earthing to what, do you mean to the Earth?" So to avoid that, can you explain a little better what you mean by Earthing? Do you mean just connecting a (presumably conductive) dish to the spacecraft's bus ground, or minimizing the potential difference with respect to the local electrostatic potential in space? While many people will understand exactly what you mean, people from many different backgrounds read questions here, so adding a little bit to make the question friendly to a wider audience is always appreciated. $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 5:47
  • $\begingroup$ Grounding an antenna on Earth may be important if hit by a flash of lightning. There are no flash of lightnings in GEO. $\endgroup$
    – Uwe
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 17:48
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @Uwe lightning is not the only source of charge in the universe! There certainly plenty of free charge in space, and there is a very real risk of electrical discharge destroying critical components on a spacecraft if grounding is not carefully managed. Read further about two classes of spacecraft charging for example in How do spacecraft measure their own charge? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Commented Jun 20, 2018 at 19:08
  • $\begingroup$ Are you referring to the concept of the ground plane for an antenna? It might be that some folks have headed in a different direction, that of electrical grounding on-board the satellite. $\endgroup$
    – Puffin
    Commented Nov 30, 2022 at 9:08

1 Answer 1


Spacecraft pick up a negative charge. See What generates static charge on the ISS?.

Plasma contactors are used to disperse it. More than you really want to know is in this document: https://ntrs.nasa.gov/api/citations/20040110836/downloads/20040110836.pdf

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