Surface degradation experiment of spacecraft materials

It is not yet clear how the electrical properties of space-use materials varies with increasing the duration of exposure in space environments, and not enough researches have been done on the degradation mechanisms.

Polymeric materials, e.g. polyimide, fluorocarbon polymer, etc., widely used as thermal control materials covering the outer surface of spacecraft are especially degraded by the interaction with plasma, atomic oxygen, ultraviolet ray, charged particle radiation, etc., in the space environment, resulting in the undesirable variation of electrical properties of the materials.

The spacecraft charging analysis software MUSCAT, which was developed by LaSEINE, requires a database of electrical properties on pristine and degraded spacecraft-surface materials to analyze the charging of spacecraft.

Therefore, our research center, LaSEINE, is doing research on the durability of the materials in space environments, and is building a the database of the electrical properties on the pristine and degraded the materials.