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Scanning electron microscope/energy dispersive x ray analysis of impact residues on LDEF tray clampsTo better understand the nature of particulates in low-Earth orbit (LEO), and their effects on spacecraft hardware, we are analyzing residues found in impacts on the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) tray clamps. LDEF experiment trays were held in place by 6 to 8 chromic-anodized aluminum (6061-T6) clamps that were fastened to the spacecraft frame using three stainless steel hex bolts. Each clamp exposed an area of approximately 58 sq cm (4.8 cm x 12.7 cm x .45 cm, minus the bolt coverage). Some 337 out of 774 LDEF tray clamps were archived at JSC and are available through the Meteoroid & Debris Special Investigation Group (M&D SIG). Optical scanning of clamps, starting with Bay/Row A01 and working toward H25, is being conducted at JSC to locate and document impacts as small as 40 microns. These impacts are then inspected by Scanning Electron Microscopy/Energy Dispersive X-ray Analysis (SEM/EDXA) to select those features which contain appreciable impact residue material. Based upon the composition of projectile remnants, and using criteria developed at JSC, we have made a preliminary discrimination between micrometeoroid and space debris residue-containing impact features. Presently, 13 impacts containing significant amounts of unmelted and semi-melted micrometeoritic residues were forwarded to Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales (CNES) in France. At the CNES facilities, the upgraded impacts were analyzed using a JEOL T330A SEM equipped with a NORAN Instruments, Voyager X-ray Analyzer. All residues were quantitatively characterized by composition (including oxygen and carbon) to help understand interplanetary dust as possibly being derived from comets and asteroids.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Bernhard, Ronald P.
(Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales Toulouse (France)., United States)
Durin, Christian
(Centre National d'Etudes Spatiales Toulouse, France)
Zolensky, Michael E.
(NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 1992
Publication Information
Publication: NASA. Langley Research Center, Second LDEF Post-Retrieval Symposium Abstracts
Subject Category
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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