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Technical Paper

Advanced Thermal Control Coatings for Use in Low Earth Orbit

A method for applying an organic coating to Z-93, an inorganic white thermal control paint, was developed to protect Z-93 from contamination and damage. A layer of FEP Teflon™ was applied over Z-93 to provide a smooth, continuous surface without adversely affecting its optical properties. Additionally, new low-absorptance, controlled-emittance thermal control paints were developed for low Earth orbit (LEO) applications, such as the International Space Station. These paints have a range of infrared emittances from 0.26 to 0.88, and are stable in simulated LEO environments, including atomic oxygen and ultraviolet radiation. Patent applications have been submitted for these concepts.
Technical Paper

Advancements in Long-Life Thermal Control Coatings for Low Earth Orbit Applications

The Space Station Freedom program requires long-life thermal control coatings that are stable in low Earth orbit (LEO). To provide designers with a variety of coatings and optical properties, improvements were made to existing coatings, and new thermal control coatings were developed. Anodized aluminum was demonstrated to be an acceptable substrate for inorganic thermal control coatings such as Z-93. Mixtures of Z-93 with stable black oxides provided a wide range of optical properties and were stable in a simulated LEO environment. In addition, sulfuric acid anodized aluminum was developed to a production status to provide controlled optical properties for many aluminum alloys.