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Analysis of Retrieved Hubble Space Telescope Thermal Control MaterialsThe mechanical and optical properties of the thermal control materials on the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) have degraded over the nearly seven years the telescope has been in orbit. Astronaut observations and photographs from the Second Servicing Mission (SM2) revealed large cracks in the metallized Teflon FEP, the outer-layer of the multi-layer insulation (MLI), in many locations around the telescope. Also, the emissivity of the bonded metallized Teflon FEP radiator surfaces of the telescope has increased over time. Samples of the top layer of the MLI and radiator material were retrieved during SM2, and a thorough investigation into the de-radiation followed in order to determine the primary cause of the damage. Mapping of the cracks on HST and the ground testing showed that thermal cycling with deep-layer damage from electron and proton radiation are necessary to cause the observed embrittlement. Further, strong, evidence was found indicating that chain scission (reduced molecular weight) is the dominant form of damage to the metallized Teflon FEP.
Document ID
Document Type
Townsend, Jacqueline A.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Hansen, Patricia A.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD United States)
Dever, Joyce A.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Triolo, Jack J.
(Swales Aerospace Beltsville, MD United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1998
Publication Information
Publication: Science of Advanced Materials and Process Engineering
Issue: Series 43
Subject Category
Meeting Information
Science of Advanced Materials and Process Engineering(Anaheim, CA)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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NameType 19980237420.pdf STI