NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Materials International Space Station Experiment-9 (MISSE-9) Polymers and Composites ExperimentSpacecraft in low Earth orbit (LEO) are subjected to harsh environmental conditions, including radiation (cosmic rays, ultraviolet, x-ray, and charged particle radiation), micrometeoroids and orbital debris, temperature extremes, thermal cycling, and atomic oxygen (AO). These environmental exposures can result in erosion, embrittlement and optical property degradation, threatening spacecraft performance and durability. To increase our understanding of effects such as AO erosion and radiation induced embrittlement of spacecraft materials, NASA Glenn has developed a series of experiments flown as part of the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) missions on the exterior of the International Space Station (ISS). These experiments have provided critical LEO space environment durability data such as AO erosion data for many materials and mechanical properties changes after long term space exposure. In continuing these studies, a new experiment called the Polymers and Composites Experiment has been selected for flight on the MISSE-Flight Facility (MISSE-FF). The Polymers and Composites Experiment will be flown as part of the MISSE-9 mission, the inaugural mission of MISSE-FF manifested on SpaceX-14. This experiment includes 138 samples being flown in ram, wake or zenith orientations for space environmental durability assessment. The primary objective is to determine the LEO AO erosion yield, Ey (the volume loss per incident oxygen atom (cm3/atom)), of polymers, composites, and coated samples, as a function of solar irradiation and AO fluence. In addition, epoxy samples with varying levels of ZnO powder are included to study the effect of filler quantity on AO erosion. An AO Scattering Chamber is included to help improve the understanding of AO scattering mechanisms for improved AO undercutting modeling. Indium tin oxide (ITO) coated samples are included to validate the durability of ITO conductive coatings in LEO. Tensile samples of Teflon fluorinated ethylene propylene (FEP) of varying thicknesses and back-surface coatings will be flown in wake and zenith orientations to study radiation embrittlement versus thickness, and the effect of heating on FEP embrittlement. Finally, shape memory composite and cosmic ray shielding samples will be flown for LEO durability assessment. This paper presents an overview of the MISSE-9 Polymers and Composites Experiment.
Document ID
Document Type
de Groh, Kim K.
(NASA Glenn Research Center Cleveland, OH, United States)
Banks, Bruce A.
(Science Applications International Corp. (SAIC) Cleveland, OH, United States)
Santo, Loredana
(Tor Vergata Univ. Rome, Italy)
Date Acquired
October 25, 2018
Publication Date
July 14, 2018
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
COSPAR Scientific Assembly(Pasadena, CA)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 291647.01.22
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
Earth orbital environments
Solar radiation

Available Downloads

NameType 20180006886.pdf STI