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Contamination Control

Post Flight

Post flight operational support is available and T & M Engineering routinely supports NASA/KSC on post STS missions. Post flight assessments of spacecraft and systems involves wipe analysis of surfaces and fallout/deposition detection.

Wipe analysis involves taking wipes of payload areas using "opti-cloth" cotton wipe material subjected to Soxhlet extraction with Methylene Chloride. The wipes are moistened with a triple distilled mixture of 1,1,1 trichlorethane and ethanol. The mixture is harmless to all surfaces that constitute spacecraft and removes only surface contamination. This solvent has been used on numerous spacecraft flown by NASA and ESA. FTIR analysis of the residue determines the chemical species detected on the wipes. The fallout and deposition detectors are used during payload de-integration, as with EuReCa and SFU, where payloads are processed prior to shipping. The detectors are places in and around the payloads/spacecraft, in the clean rooms and shipping containers.

The services and detectors offered are:

  • Wipe analysis
  • Passive detectors/witness plates
    • FTIR/IRE
    • VUV mirrors
    • Au/Cu surfaces
    • cellulose discs (gridded)
    • black glass mirrors
  • Active detectors:
    • SAW
    • OFM

Recently T & M Engineering conducted the contamination assessment for SFU post retrieval and the first micrometeoroid and debris survey of SFU whilst in the KSC OPF and at the Astrotech Facility, Florida, prior to processing and shipping back to Japan. T & M Engineering fallout and deposition detectors were also placed in the shipping container for the sea journey back to Japan.

Contamination monitors used for SFU Contamination Control