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A Researcher’s Guide to: Space Environmental Effects

Front cover for the ISS Researcher's Guide to Space Environmental Effects

September 2020 Edition

By Miria M. Finckenor
Kim K. de Groh

Scientists and engineers have developed advanced materials for manned spacecraft and satellites for a range of sophisticated applications in space exploration, transportation, global positioning and communication. The materials used on the exterior of spacecraft are subjected to many environmental threats that can degrade many materials and components.

Determining how long-term exposure to space conditions impacts various materials and, thus, which materials are best suited for spacecraft construction can most effectively be accomplished through actual testing in space. The ISS provides an ideal platform for long-term space environment effects testing, particularly since experiments can be returned to Earth for postflight analyses.

This Researcher’s Guide explains the research priorities for space environmental effects on the International Space Station, describes specific aspects of the space environment for researchers to consider and details the various ISS external accommodations available. Lessons learned as well as funding opportunities are also provided.

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