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Analyses of Contaminated Solar Array Handrail Samples Retrieved from MirIn January 1998 during, the STS-89 mission, an eight section Russian solar array panel was retrieved after more than ten years exposure to the orbital space environment on the Russian space station Mir. Two darkened handrail samples from the Russian solar array have been evaluated for contamination: a section of a white paint covered rigid handrail and a section of woven fabric over-wrapped around a flexible handhold. The handrail samples were evaluated using optical microscopy (OM), field emission scanning electron microscopy (FESEM) and energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS). Optical properties were also obtained. Microscopy has shown the discolored areas to have thick layers of contaminant that has crazed and spalled off in regions. Energy dispersive spectroscopy revealed that the brown contaminant is composed of oxidized silicon. No silicon was present on the unexposed fabric over-wrap, and very small amounts were present in the white paint. Therefore, the contaminant layer on both samples is attributed to silicone contamination from other spacecraft materials that have been oxidized by atomic oxygen while in orbit. A significant source of the silicone contamination appears to be from the solar array itself.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
deGroh, Kim K.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
McCue, Terry R.
(DYNACS Engineering Co., Inc. Brook Park, OH United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
October 1, 1999
Subject Category
Nonmetallic Materials
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:209399
Meeting Information
Intersociety Energy Conversion Engineering(Vancouver)
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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NameType 19990116723.pdf STI