Fast Oxygen LEO Space Environment Simulators

ITL designed built and supplied to International customers a number of low Earth orbit (LEO) space environment simulators. The designed Space Environment Simulators (SES) are modern, fully computerized experimental facilities designed and created at ITL Inc. for testing, qualification, and lifetime prediction of spacecraft materials and coating in simulated conditions of the LEO space environment.

The materials under investigation can be exposed in SES systems  to high vacuum, fast atomic oxygen (FAO), thermal atomic oxygen (TAO), vacuum ultraviolet radiation (VUV), near-ultraviolet radiation (NUV) and temperature cycling (TC) to assess their durability and study the material damaging mechanisms.

A number of facilities that ITL designed built and supplied to its customers are shown in the pictures below.  The attached brochures provide more details on the capabilities of the systems.

Low Earth Orbit Space Environment
simulators designed, build and supplied
to ITL’s International customers.

The LEO Space Environment Simulators  system can be used in:
  • Studying the interaction of thermal and hyper-thermal atomic oxygen with materials
  • Measurement of degradation of spacecraft external surfaces in space conditions (low, polar, and geostationary Earth orbits)
  • Studying the radiation damage mechanisms
  • Prediction of the evolution of thermo-optical properties of thermo-control materials and coatings in simulated space conditions
  • Evaluation of the lifetime of organic-based materials used on external surfaces of the ISS and VLEO and LEO satellites.

The major LEO environmental factors that can be reproduced in the simulator facilities include
  • Ultra-high vacuum conditions (1E6 -1E7 Torr);
  • Fast Atomic Oxygen (FAO) beams (4.5 – 5.5 eV);
  • Thermal Atomic Oxygen (TAO) ( 0.03 -0.3 eV);
  • Vacuum-Ultraviolet (VUV) radiation ( 120 nm – 200 nm);
  • Near-Ultraviolet (NUV) radiation (1-10 Suns);
  • Thermally stabilized conditions in the range of temperatures (-150 °C – +250 °C)
  • Thermal cycling (-150°C – +150°C). The high limit can be extended on demand.

Different cylindrical, semi-spherical and hemispherical designs for the LEO simulator vacuum chambers.

Images of surfaces after exposure to the Fast Atomic Oxygen beam



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