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Contamination of optical surfaces in Earth orbitGlass and glass ceramic samples exposed to the low earth orbit environment for approximately 5.5 years on the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) were found to display limited degradation in optical transmission. Commercial optical quality fused silica samples display decreases in transmission in the 200 to 400 nm wavelength region, and this degradation appears to be a consequence of surface contamination. The contamination, found only on internal surfaces of samples, was measured by medium energy backscattering spectrometry and found to be primarily carbon. Additional thin film contamination by a species with atomic mass near 64, which was present at the level of about 8 x 10 exp 14/sq. cm has not been identified. These observations are consistent with the interpretation that organic binders used in the black absorbing paint (Chem Glaze Z-306) inside the sample holding tray were concentrated in the vicinity of the samples and photolytically cracked by solar UV radiation. The resulting decomposition products were deposited on the interior sample surface and gave rise to the optical transmission loss. No detectable contamination was observed on the external or space exposed surface of the samples. No measurable damage was detected which could be attributed to the direct action of gamma or UV radiation on the glass samples. These results emphasize the need for special precautions in the preparation of spacecraft carrying precision optical components on long duration missions.
Document ID
19920017856
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Kinser, Donald L. (Vanderbilt Univ. Nashville, TN., United States)
Weller, Robert A. (Vanderbilt Univ. Nashville, TN., United States)
Mendenhall, M. H. (Vanderbilt Univ. Nashville, TN., United States)
Wiedlocher, D. E. (Vanderbilt Univ. Nashville, TN., United States)
Nichols, R. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Tucker, D. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Whitaker, A. (NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1992
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Langley Research Center, LDEF: 69 Months in Space. First Post-Retrieval Symposium, Part 3
Subject Category
OPTICS
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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