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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.