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Environmental Durability Issues for Solar Power Systems in Low Earth OrbitSpace solar power systems for use in the low Earth orbit (LEO) environment experience a variety of harsh environmental conditions. Materials used for solar power generation in LEO need to be durable to environmental threats such as atomic oxygen, ultraviolet (UV) radiation, thermal cycling, and micrometeoroid and debris impact. Another threat to LEO solar power performance is due to contamination from other spacecraft components. This paper gives an overview of these LEO environmental issues as they relate to space solar power system materials. Issues addressed include atomic oxygen erosion of organic materials, atomic oxygen undercutting of protective coatings, UV darkening of ceramics, UV embrittlement of Teflon, effects of thermal cycling on organic composites, and contamination due to silicone and organic materials. Specific examples of samples from the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) and materials returned from the first servicing mission of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) are presented. Issues concerning ground laboratory facilities which simulate the LEO environment are discussed along with ground-to-space correlation issues.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Degroh, Kim K.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Banks, Bruce A.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Smith, Daniela C.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
November 1, 1994
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:106775
Meeting Information
1995 International Solar Energy Conference(Lahaina, HI)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

Available Downloads

NameType 19950009355.pdf STI