EURECA Postflight Investigation 941515

With the successful retrieval of EURECA, the EUROPEAN RETRIEVABLE CARRIER, again a long term orbit satellite (11 month in space) is available for the space material community to investigate the influence of low earth orbit environment on materials which stayed in orbit for a prolonged time.
EURECA, designed, manufactured and launched to carry out numerous experiments in the fields of fluid- and solar physics, materials science, biology and astronomy under orbital conditions, in parallel presents a huge material expositon experiment in itself, providing detailed insight into the possible orbital degradation mechanisms due to the synergistic effects of atomic oxygen, UV radiation, thermal cycling, high vacuum and micrometeorite/debris impacts.
In order to exploit the valuable information, an integrated ESTEC/ERNO team has been established to perform a detailed investigation of the EURECA surface and - as far as accessible -internal structural parts and experiments.
The main inspection activities consisted of photographic survey of EURECA, visual inspection of the MLIs as well as measurements of the thermal properties absorptance/emittance and the performance of wipe tests in regions of interest.
In order to provide optimum accessibility and transparency the collected data were fed into a database allowing structured data storage, search and processing.
The present paper summarises the investigation activities - highlighting the significant findings - and presents an overview regarding the database established.


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