Space Environment Exposure Tests of Functional Thin-Film Devices for Solar Sail (ExHAM-Solar Sail) - 10.21.14
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The Space Environment Exposure Tests of Functional Thin-Film Devices for Solar Sail (ExHAM Solar Sail) investigation examines how space radiation affects thin-film solar cells and other thin-film devices. These thin films could be used in a variety of ways in future space missions, including solar sails pushed by the solar wind from the sun to move a spacecraft. By exposing thin-film solar cells to space, scientists are able to study how they degrade or deform in order to make improved films.
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Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), Tsukuba, , Japan
Sponsoring Space Agency
Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA)
ISS Expedition Duration
September 2014 - Ongoing
Previous ISS Missions
- Functional thin-film devices such as solar cells, reflectivity control devices, and reinforcing materials are important to have anfor use in advanced function for spacecraft with flexible and light-weight structure. Integrated on-orbit space environment exposure tests aboard ISS will appropriate to seek to evaluate the usefulness of these devices for future space missions.
- This experiment will evaluates the effects of the space environment to on the material deterioration, mechanical deformation, and optical property variation of the functional thin-film devices.
- The experiment results will contribute to the development of space functional thin- film devices for a variety of applications, including inflatable reflector antennas, space solar power systems, and solar sails.
Thin-film solar cells are one way to provide a lightweight power source for future space missions. But ultraviolet light, radiation, and extreme temperature changes can damage the thin film. Testing thin-film devices in orbit helps engineers evaluate their use for future space missions. Four types of thin-film devices will be mounted to the Exposed Experiment Handhold Attachment Mechanism (ExHAM) on the International Space Station, where they will be exposed to harsh space conditions.
Functional thin-film devices and thin-film solar cells have potential earth applications such as light-weight solar battery charger, solar skin for homes, buildings, and electric vehicles. Evaluating their ability to withstand the extreme environment of space could also lead to new spin-off technology on Earth.