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Proceedings Paper

Update of the midcourse space experiment (MSX) satellite measurements of contaminant films using QCMs
Author(s): Bob E. Wood; B. David Green; David F. Hall; O. Manuel Uy; Russell Paul Cain; Gary E. Galica; Mark T. Boies; William T. Bertrand
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Paper Abstract

The Midcourse Space Experiment (MSX) satellite was launched on April 24, 1996. This paper provides an update of the quartz crystal microbalance (QCM) data accumulated over these last four years in space. The MSX is the only known experiment that has provided continuous contamination monitoring for such an extended length of time. The five QCMs on board the satellite have provided on-orbit data that have been invaluable in characterizing contamination levels around the spacecraft and inside the cryogenic Spatial Infrared Imaging Telescope (SPIRIT 3). One of the QCMs, the cryogenic QCM (CQCM), located internal to SPIRIT 3, was mounted adjacent to the primary mirror and provided contamination accretion measurements during the 10-month lifetime of SPIRIT 3. Real- time monitoring of contaminant mass deposition on the primary mirror was provided by this CQCM which was cooled to the same temperature as the mirror - approximately 20K. Thermogravimetric analyses (TGAs) on the CQCM provided insight into the amount and species of contaminants condensed on the SPIRIT 3 primary mirror during various spacecraft activities. The four temperature-controlled QCMs (TQCMs) were mounted on external surfaces of the spacecraft for monitoring spacecraft contamination deposition. The TQCMs operated at approximately -50$DEGC and were positioned strategically to monitor the silicone and organic contaminant flux arriving at specific locations. Updated time histories of contaminant thickness deposition for each of the QCMs are presented. Gradual contaminant thickness increase was observed during the first year in space. During the second year, the QCM frequencies (contaminant film thickness) began to decrease, with the time of onset depending on QCM location. Possible explanationsfor this interesting behavior are discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 September 2000
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4096, Optical Systems Contamination and Degradation II: Effects, Measurements, and Control, (20 September 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.400820
Show Author Affiliations
Bob E. Wood, Sverdrup Technology, Inc. (United States)
B. David Green, Physical Sciences Inc. (United States)
David F. Hall, The Aerospace Corp. (United States)
O. Manuel Uy, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Russell Paul Cain, Johns Hopkins Univ. (United States)
Gary E. Galica, Physical Sciences Inc. (United States)
Mark T. Boies, Physical Sciences Inc. (United States)
William T. Bertrand, Sverdrup Technology, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4096:
Optical Systems Contamination and Degradation II: Effects, Measurements, and Control
Philip T. C. Chen; O. Manuel Uy, Editor(s)

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