Post-Flight Characterization of Samples for the MISSE-7 Spacesuit Fabric Exposure Experiment
Gaier JR, et al. (2012). "Post-Flight Characterization of Samples for the MISSE-7 Spacesuit Fabric Exposure Experiment."
Six samples of pristine and dust-abraded outer layer spacesuit fabrics were included in the Materials International Space Station Experiment-7, in which they were exposed to the wake side low Earth orbit environment (LEO) on the International Space Station (ISS) for 18 months in order to determine whether abrasion by lunar dust increases radiation degradation. The fabric samples were characterized using optical microscopy, field emission scanning electron microscopy, and tensile testing before and after exposure on the ISS. Comparison of pre- and post-flight characterizations showed that wake side LEO environment darkened and reddened all six fabrics, increasing their integrated solar absorptance by 7 to 38 percent. There was a decrease in the ultimate tensile strength and elongation to failure of lunar dust abraded Apollo spacesuit fibers by a factor of four and increased the elastic modulus by a factor of two. The severity of the degradation of the fabric samples over this short exposure time demonstrates the necessity to find ways to prevent or mitigate radiation damage to spacesuits when planning extended missions to the Moon.
ISSN: NASA/TM-2012-217651, E-18329