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Environmental Exposure Conditions for Teflon FEP on the Hubble Space Telescope InvestigatedThe Hubble Space Telescope (HST) was launched into low Earth orbit on April 24,1990. During the first servicing mission in December 1993 (3.6 years after launch), multilayer insulation (MLI) blankets were retrieved from the two magnetic sensing systems located on the light shield. Retrieval of one of the solar arrays during this mission also provided MLI blanket material from the solar array drive arm. These MLI materials were analyzed in ground-based facilities, and results indicate that the space-facing outer layer of the MLI, aluminized Teflon FEP (DuPont; fluorinated ethylene propylene), was beginning to degrade. Close inspection of the FEP revealed through-the-thickness cracks in areas with the highest solar exposure and stress concentration. During the second servicing mission in February 1997 (6.8 years after launch), astronauts observed and documented severe cracking in the outer layer of the MLI blankets on both the solar-facing and anti-solar-facing surfaces. During this second mission, some material from the outer layer of the light shield MLI was retrieved and subsequently analyzed in ground-based facilities. After the second servicing mission, a Failure Review Board was convened by NASA Goddard Space Flight Center to address the MLI degradation problem on HST. Members of the Electro-Physics Branch of the NASA Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field participated on this board. To determine possible degradation mechanisms, board researchers needed to consider all environmental constituents to which the FEP MLI surfaces were exposed. On the basis of measurements, models, and predictions, environmental exposure conditions for FEP surfaces on HST were estimated for various time periods from launch in 1990 through 2010, the planned end-of-life for HST. The table summarizes these data including the number and temperature ranges of thermal cycles; equivalent Sun hours; fluence and absorbed radiation dose from solar event x rays; fluence and absorbed dose from solar wind protons and electrons trapped in Earth s magnetic field; fluence of plasma electrons and protons; and atomic oxygen fluence.
Document ID
Document Type
Dever, Joyce A.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
deGroh, Kim K.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Banks, Bruce A.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Townsend, Jacqueline a.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Barth, Janet L.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Thomson, Shaun
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Gregory, Teri
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Savage, William J.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
September 7, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 2000
Publication Information
Publication: Research and Technology 1999
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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IDRelationTitle20000056096Analytic PrimaryResearch and Technology 1999