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Soldering Tested in Reduced GravityWhether used occasionally for contingency repair or routinely in nominal repair operations, soldering will become increasingly important to the success of future long-duration human space missions. As a result, it will be critical to have a thorough understanding of the service characteristics of solder joints produced in reduced-gravity environments. The National Center for Space Exploration Research (via the Research for Design program), the NASA Glenn Research Center, and the NASA Johnson Space Center are conducting an experimental program to explore the influence of reduced gravity environments on the soldering process. Solder joint characteristics that are being considered include solder fillet geometry, porosity, and microstructural features. Both through-hole (see the drawing and image on the preceding figure) and surface-mounted devices are being investigated. This effort (the low-gravity portion being conducted on NASA s KC-135 research aircraft) uses the soldering hardware currently available on the International Space Station. The experiment involves manual soldering by a contingent of test operators, including both highly skilled technicians and less skilled individuals to provide a skill mix that might be encountered in space mission crews. The experiment uses both flux-cored solder and solid-core solder with an externally applied flux. Other experimental parameters include the type of flux, gravitational level (nominally zero,
Document ID
Document Type
Struk, Peter M.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Pettegrew, Richard D.
(National Center for Space Exploration Research on Fluids and Combustion Cleveland, OH, United States)
Watson, J. Kevin
Down, Robert S.
Haylett, Daniel R.
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 2005
Publication Information
Publication: Research and Technology 2004
Subject Category
Metals And Metallic Materials
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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