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Analyses of Hubble Space Telescope Aluminized-Teflon Insulation Retrieved After 19 Years of Space ExposureSince its launch in April 1990, the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) has made many important observations from its vantage point in low Earth orbit (LEO). However, as seen during five servicing missions, the outer layer of multilayer insulation (MLI) has become successively more embrittled and has cracked in many areas. In May 2009, during the 5th servicing mission (called SM4), two MLI blankets were replaced with new insulation pieces and the space-exposed MLI blankets were retrieved for degradation analyses by teams at NASA Glenn Research Center (GRC) and NASA Goddard Space Flight Center (GSFC). The MLI blankets were from Equipment Bay 8, which received direct sunlight, and Equipment Bay 5, which received grazing sunlight. Each blanket contained a range of unique regions based on environmental exposure and/or physical appearance. The retrieved MLI blanket s aluminized-Teflon (DuPont) fluorinated ethylene propylene (Al-FEP) outer layers have been analyzed for changes in optical, physical, and mechanical properties, along with space induced chemical and morphological changes. When compared to pristine material, the analyses have shown how the Al-FEP was severely affected by the space environment. This paper reviews tensile properties, solar absorptance, thermal emittance, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS) data and atomic oxygen erosion values of the retrieved HST blankets after 19 years of space exposure.
Document ID
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
deGroh, Kim K.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Waters, Deborah L.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Mohammed, Jelila S.
(NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Greenbelt, MD, United States)
Perry, Bruce A.
(Ohio Aerospace Inst. Brook Park, OH, United States)
Banks, Bruce A.
(Alphaport, Inc. Cleveland, OH, United States)
Date Acquired
August 26, 2013
Publication Date
October 1, 2012
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
10th International Space Conference on Protection of Materials and Structures from the Space Environment (ICPMSE-10J)(Nago, Okinawa)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 315404.07.20.12
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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