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Space environment durability of beta cloth in LDEF thermal blanketsBeta cloth performance for use on long-term space vehicles such as Space Station Freedom (S.S. Freedom) requires resistance to the degrading effects of the space environment. The major issues are retention of thermal insulating properties through maintaining optical properties, preserving mechanical integrity, and generating minimal particulates for contamination-sensitive spacecraft surfaces and payloads. The longest in-flight test of beta cloth's durability was on the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF), where it was exposed to the space environment for 68 months. The LDEF contained 57 experiments which further defined the space environment and its effects on spacecraft materials. It was deployed into low-Earth orbit (LEO) in Apr. 1984 and retrieved Jan. 1990 by the space shuttle. Among the 10,000 plus material constituents and samples onboard were thermal control blankets of multilayer insulation with a beta cloth outer cover and Velcro attachments. These blankets were exposed to hard vacuum, thermal cycling, charged particles, meteoroid/debris impacts, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, and atomic oxygen (AO). Of these space environmental exposure elements, AO appears to have had the greatest effect on the beta cloth. The beta cloth analyzed in this report came from the MSFC Experiment S1005 (Transverse Flat-Plate Heat Pipe) tray oriented approximately 22 deg from the leading edge vector of the LDEF satellite. The location of the tray on LDEF and the placement of the beta cloth thermal blankets are shown. The specific space environment exposure conditions for this material are listed.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Linton, Roger C.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Whitaker, Ann F.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Finckenor, Miria M.
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
December 1, 1993
Publication Information
Publication: LDEF Materials Results for Spacecraft Applications
Subject Category
Nonmetallic Materials
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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