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Title: Combined contamination and space environmental effects on solar cells and thermal control surfaces

For spacecraft in low Earth orbit (LEO), contamination can occur from thruster fuel, sputter contamination products and from products of silicone degradation. This paper describes laboratory testing in which solar cell materials and thermal control surfaces were exposed to simulated spacecraft environmental effects including contamination, atomic oxygen, ultraviolet radiation and thermal cycling. The objective of these experiments was to determine how the interaction of the natural LEO environmental effects with contaminated spacecraft surfaces impacts the performance of these materials. Optical properties of samples were measured and solar cell performance data was obtained. In general, exposure to contamination by thruster fuel resulted in degradation of solar absorptance for fused silica and various thermal control surfaces and degradation of solar cell performance. Fused silica samples which were subsequently exposed to an atomic oxygen/vacuum ultraviolet radiation environment showed reversal of this degradation. These results imply that solar cells and thermal control surfaces which are susceptible to thruster fuel contamination and which also receive atomic oxygen exposure may not undergo significant performance degradation. Materials which were exposed to only vacuum ultraviolet radiation subsequent to contamination showed slight additional degradation in solar absorptance.
Authors:
; ; ;
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
7169787
Report Number(s):
N-94-33022; NASA-TM--106592; E--8859; NAS--1.15:106592; AIAA-Paper--94-2627; CONF-9406188--
CNN: NAS3-27186; RTOP 474-46-10
Resource Type:
Conference
Resource Relation:
Conference: 18. American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) aerospace ground test conference, Colorado Springs, CO (United States), 20-23 Jun 1994
Research Org:
National Aeronautics and Space Administration, Cleveland, OH (United States). Lewis Research Center
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
14 SOLAR ENERGY; 36 MATERIALS SCIENCE; SOLAR CELLS; OPTICAL PROPERTIES; PHYSICAL RADIATION EFFECTS; THERMAL CYCLING; CONTAMINATION; OXYGEN; ULTRAVIOLET RADIATION; DIRECT ENERGY CONVERTERS; ELECTROMAGNETIC RADIATION; ELEMENTS; EQUIPMENT; NONMETALS; PHOTOELECTRIC CELLS; PHOTOVOLTAIC CELLS; PHYSICAL PROPERTIES; RADIATION EFFECTS; RADIATIONS; SOLAR EQUIPMENT 140501* -- Solar Energy Conversion-- Photovoltaic Conversion; 360605 -- Materials-- Radiation Effects