The in-orbit aging of thermo-optical properties of thermal coatings critically impacts both spacecraft thermal balance and heating power consumption. Nevertheless, in-flight thermal coating aging is generally larger than the one measured on ground and the current knowledge does not allow making reliable predictions1. As a result, a large oversizing of thermal control systems is required. To address this issue, the Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales has developed a low-cost experiment, called THERME, which enables to monitor the in-flight time-evolution of the solar absorptivity of a large variety of coatings, including commonly used coatings and new materials by measuring their temperature. This experiment has been carried out on sunsynchronous spacecrafts for more than 27 years, allowing thus the generation of a very large set of telemetry measurements. The aim of this work was to develop a model able to semi-quantitatively reproduce these data with a restraint number of parameters. The underlying objectives were to better understand the contribution of the different involved phenomena and, later on, to predict the thermal coating aging at end of life. The physical processes modeled include contamination deposition, UV aging of both contamination layers and intrinsic material and atomic oxygen erosion. Efforts were particularly focused on the satellite leading wall as this face is exposed to the highest variations in environmental conditions during the solar cycle. The non-monotonous time-evolution of the solar absorptivity of thermal coatings is shown to be due to a succession of contamination and contaminant erosion by atomic oxygen phased with the solar cycle.