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Proceedings Paper

Modeling natural space ionizing radiation effects on external materials
Author(s): Richard L. Altstatt; David L. Edwards
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Paper Abstract

Predicting the effective life of materials for space applications has become increasingly critical with the drive to reduce mission cost. Programs have considered many solutions to reduce launch costs including novel, low mass materials and thin thermal blankets to reduce spacecraft mass. Determining the long-term survivability of these materials before launch is critical for mission success. This presentation will describe an analysis performed on the outer layer of the passive thermal control blanket of the Hubble Space Telescope. This layer had degraded for unknown reasons during the mission, however ionizing radiation (IR) induced embrittlement was suspected. A methodology was developed which allowed direct comparison between the energy deposition of the natural environment and that of the laboratory generated environment. Commercial codes were used to predict the natural space IR environment, model energy deposition in the material from both natural and laboratory IR sources, and design the most efficient test. Results were optimized for total and local energy deposition with an iterative spreadsheet. This method has been used successfully for several laboratory tests at the Marshall Space Flight Center. The study showed that the natural space IR environment, by itself, did not cause the premature degradation observed in the thermal blanket.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 October 2000
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 4134, Photonics for Space Environments VII, (26 October 2000); doi: 10.1117/12.405348
Show Author Affiliations
Richard L. Altstatt, Sverdrup Technology, Inc. (United States)
David L. Edwards, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4134:
Photonics for Space Environments VII
Edward W. Taylor, Editor(s)

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