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MIR Solar Array Return Experiment: Power Performance Measurements and Molecular Contamination Analysis ResultsA solar array segment was recently removed from the Mir core module and returned for ground-based analysis. The segment, which is similar to the ones the Russians have provided for the FGB and Service Modules, was microscopically examined and disassembled by US and Russian science teams. Laboratory analyses have shown the segment to he heavily contaminated by an organic silicone coating, which was converted to an organic silicate film by reactions with atomic oxygen within the. orbital flight environment. The source of the contaminant was a silicone polymer used by the Russians as an adhesive and bonding agent during segment construction. During its life cycle, the array experienced a reduction in power performance from approx. 12%, when it was new and first deployed, to approx. 5%, when it was taken out of service. However, current-voltage measurements of three contaminated cells and three pristine, Russian standard cells have shown that very little degradation in solar array performance was due to the silicate contaminants on the solar cell surfaces. The primary sources of performance degradation is attributed to "thermal hot-spotting" or electrical arcing; orbital debris and micrometeoroid impacts; and possibly to the degradation of the solar cells and interconnects caused by radiation damage from high energy protons and electrons.
Document ID
Document Type
Visentine, James
(Boeing Co. Houston, TX United States)
Kinard, William
(NASA Langley Research Center Hampton, VA United States)
Brinker, David
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Scheiman, David
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Banks, Bruce
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Albyn, Keith
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX United States)
Hornung, Steve
(Allied-Signal Aerospace Co. United States)
See, Thomas
(Lockheed Martin Corp. United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 2001
Subject Category
Energy Production And Conversion
Report/Patent Number
AIAA Paper 2001-0684
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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