Original Date: 04/26/1999
Revision Date: 01/18/2007
Information : Space Environmental Effects Testing Capabilities
Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) has established the Combined Environmental Effects Test-Cell 3 (CEETC3), a space environmental effects testing facility used to simulate combined space environments. The CEETC3 enables the Center to test, evaluate, and qualify materials for use on external surfaces in space. Typically, materials are exposed to laboratory simulations of space environments followed by flight experiments, when possible.
The CEETC3 exposes temperature-controlled samples to simultaneous multi-environmental sources such as protons, high energy electrons, low energy electrons, vacuum ultraviolet (VUV) radiation and near ultraviolet (NUV) radiation. The facility (Figure 3-5) generates protons of 30 to 700 keV energy and electrons from 0.22 to 2.5 MeV energy by using two particle linear accelerators. Electrons ranging from 1 to 50 keV energy are generated from an electron gun. Two ultraviolet radiation sources are used: a mercury-xenon lamp for NUV and a deuterium lamp for VUV. The NUV source is external to the test chamber and produces photons over the range of 200 to 2,500 nm. This source can also produce ten times the sun’s NUV radiation (250 to 400 nm) for accelerated testing.
The CEETC3 provides designers, engineers, and scientists with valuable information on the behavior of materials in a space environment. MSFC has used this facility to qualify materials for the space shuttle, International Space Station (ISS), and the Solar X-Ray Imager. The CEETC3 was also used in post-flight analysis of experiments, such as the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) which was exposed to a space environment for 5.5 years. Material samples from the LDEF were then examined to determine the changes in optical, mechanical, and electrical properties. The synergistic effects of these property changes are still not completely understood, and continues to be investigated by space environmental effects testing facilities.
Figure 3-5. Combined Environmental Effects Test-Cell 3
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