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Proceedings Paper

Thruster residues on returned Mir solar panel
Author(s): Gale A. Harvey
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Paper Abstract

A solar panel with more than ten years space exposure was returned to Earth in January 1998. Several types of residues were deposited or transported onto the solar cell coverglasses during the space exposure. Self-contamination of SiOx films from the silicone potting compound was a major contamination of the coverglasses. A second type of contamination was thick, detergent-like residues of the order of a millimeter diameter on many, but not most of the coverglasses. A third, prevalent type of contamination was very thin irregular shaped films or patterns of a millimeter size which are readily visible in brilliant colors when the coverglasses are viewed with a 50x brightfield microscope. These prolific, overlapping, and almost ubiquitous patterns strongly suggest wetting on the surface. The probably cause of most of the wetted patterns on the returned Mir solar cell coverglasses is trace hydrazine nitrate in condensed water droplets produced as reaction products from Mir's and the Orbiters' hypergolic thrusters. This paper presents some of the wetted patterns, information regarding hypergolic reaction products, and type of thrusters associated with Mir operations.

Paper Details

Date Published: 20 September 2000
PDF: 6 pages
Proc. SPIE 4096, Optical Systems Contamination and Degradation II: Effects, Measurements, and Control, (20 September 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.400835
Show Author Affiliations
Gale A. Harvey, NASA Langley Research Ctr. (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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