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20 September 2000 Thruster residues on returned Mir solar panel
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A solar panel with more than ten years space exposure was returned to Earth in January 1998. Several types of residues were deposited or transported onto the solar cell coverglasses during the space exposure. Self-contamination of SiOx films from the silicone potting compound was a major contamination of the coverglasses. A second type of contamination was thick, detergent-like residues of the order of a millimeter diameter on many, but not most of the coverglasses. A third, prevalent type of contamination was very thin irregular shaped films or patterns of a millimeter size which are readily visible in brilliant colors when the coverglasses are viewed with a 50x brightfield microscope. These prolific, overlapping, and almost ubiquitous patterns strongly suggest wetting on the surface. The probably cause of most of the wetted patterns on the returned Mir solar cell coverglasses is trace hydrazine nitrate in condensed water droplets produced as reaction products from Mir's and the Orbiters' hypergolic thrusters. This paper presents some of the wetted patterns, information regarding hypergolic reaction products, and type of thrusters associated with Mir operations.
© (2000) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Gale A. Harvey "Thruster residues on returned Mir solar panel", Proc. SPIE 4096, Optical Systems Contamination and Degradation II: Effects, Measurements, and Control, (20 September 2000);

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