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Proceedings Paper

Contaminant Buildup On Ram Facing Spacecraft Surfaces
Author(s): R. O. Rantanen; T. D. Gordon
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Paper Abstract

The pressure buildup on spacecraft surfaces, facing the direction of motion, results in a contaminant cloud comprised of surface recombined ambient species, ambient/surface contaminants and the incoming ambient gases. The surface reemitted gases produce large column densities of potentially optically active gas species that do not require outgassing, engine, vent or leak contaminant sources. These gases can create unacceptable levels by the simple act of placing a surface on orbit which intercepts the ambient species. This enhanced gas cloud density also changes the mean free path of contaminant molecules injected into this cloud and alters the resulting return flux to surfaces. A new modeling approach (RAMDEN) is presented that allows gas buildup predictions to be made in a short time (minutes to hours) as opposed to days for Direct Monte Carlo Simulation (DMCS). Predictions are made for disks, solar arrays and shuttle surfaces. The impact of this effect on current shuttle contamination models and developing space station models is addressed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 January 1987
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 0777, Optical Systems Contamination: Effects, Measurement, Control, (1 January 1987); doi: 10.1117/12.967064
Show Author Affiliations
R. O. Rantanen, Science and Engineering Associates, Inc. (United States)
T. D. Gordon, Science and Engineering Associates, Inc. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 0777:
Optical Systems Contamination: Effects, Measurement, Control
A. Peter M. Glassford, Editor(s)

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