Document Type


Journal/Book Title/Conference

Posters on the Hill; Salt Lake City; 2013

Publication Date


Faculty Mentor

JR Dennison


The Sate of Utah Space Environment & Contamination Study (SUSpECS) experiment flown on the Materials International Space Station Experiment 6 (MISSE-6) was an experiment designed to examine the consequences of the space environment on various materials used in space-component design. SUSpECS was comprised of approximately 180 samples that were suspended from the side of the International Space Station (ISS) for 18 months and returned to allow for pre- and post-flight comparisons. The sample with the most evident changes was a thin film of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) MylarTM coated with Vapor Deposited Aluminum (VDA). The post- flight analysis showed evidence of atomic oxygen erosion of the VDA layer, UV-induced discoloration of the polymer, and a crater created by a micrometeoroid impact. This presentation focuses on the UV-induced discoloration and laboratory tests to simulate these effects. The UV tests expose similar polymers to varying intensities of vacuum UV radiation from deuterium lamps over a condensed time span and quantify the discoloration of the polymers through comparison of the UV/Vis/NIR reflection spectra. The results from the UV simulation are used to determine the approximate time period of the UV exposure for the SUSpECS sample and in turn the erosion rate of the VDA layer.


SUSpECS funding from USU Space Dynamics Laboratory, NASA Solar Probe Mission Program through Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, and a USU Undergraduate Research Fellowship.

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