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Atomic Oxygen Durability Testing of an International Space Station Solar Array Validation CouponAn International Space Station solar array validation coupon was exposed in a directed atomic oxygen beam for space environment durability testing at the NASA Lewis Research Center. Exposure to atomic oxygen and intermittent tensioning of the solar array were conducted to verify the solar array#s durability to low Earth orbital atomic oxygen and to the docking threat of plume loading both of which are anticipated over its expected mission life of fifteen years. The validation coupon was mounted on a specially designed rotisserie. The rotisserie mounting enabled the solar and anti-solar facing side of the array to be exposed to directed atomic oxygen in a sweeping arrival process replicating space exposure. The rotisserie mounting also enabled tensioning, in order to examine the durability of the array and its hinge to simulated plume loads. Flash testing to verify electrical performance of the solar array was performed with a solar simulator before and after the exposure to atomic oxygen and tensile loading. Results of the flash testing indicated little or no degradation in the solar array#s performance. Photographs were also taken of the array before and after the durability testing and are included along with comparisons and discussions in this report. The amount of atomic oxygen damage appeared minor with the exception of a very few isolated defects. There were also no indications that the simulated plume loadings had weakened or damaged the array, even though there was some erosion of Kapton due to atomic oxygen attack. Based on the results of this testing, it is apparent that the International Space Station#s solar arrays should survive the low Earth orbital atomic oxygen environment and docking threats which are anticipated over its expected mission life.
Document ID
Document Type
Preprint (Draft being sent to journal)
Forkapa, Mark J.
(NYMA, Inc. Cleveland, OH United States)
Stidham, Curtis
(NYMA, Inc. Cleveland, OH United States)
Banks, Bruce A.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Rutledge, Sharon K.
(NASA Lewis Research Center Cleveland, OH United States)
Ma, David H.
(Lockheed Martin Missiles and Space Sunnyvale, CA United States)
Sechkar, Edward A.
(Cleveland State Univ. Cleveland, OH United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
April 1, 1996
Subject Category
Astronautics (General)
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:107212
Meeting Information
Meeting: Third International Conference on Protection of Materials and Structures from the Low Earth Orbit Space Environment
Location: Toronto
Country: Canada
Start Date: April 25, 1996
End Date: April 26, 1996
Sponsors: Toronto Univ.
Funding Number(s)
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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