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  Space Shuttles - Space Station
  [ISS] Cleaning the Cupola's windows

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Author Topic:   [ISS] Cleaning the Cupola's windows
MarylandSpace
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Posts: 961
From:
Registered: Aug 2002

posted 01-08-2013 04:42 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MarylandSpace   Click Here to Email MarylandSpace     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do the outside of the International Space Station's Cupola's windows ever have to be brushed off due to "space dust"?

Cliff Lentz
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Posts: 639
From: Philadelphia, PA USA
Registered: Mar 2002

posted 01-08-2013 05:06 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Cliff Lentz   Click Here to Email Cliff Lentz     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I don't recall this type of maintenance mentioned but I do know that they close the shutters when there are visiting vehicles for just that reason.

Max Q
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Posts: 381
From: Whyalla South Australia
Registered: Mar 2007

posted 01-09-2013 07:05 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Max Q   Click Here to Email Max Q     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I have heard that every time shuttle visited Hubble they kept it shuttered for a while to allow for residue from the RCS to dissipate.

How much of an issue is this really (Hubble and ISS) or is it purely precautionary?

Headshot
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Posts: 182
From: Streamwood, IL USA
Registered: Feb 2012

posted 01-10-2013 08:08 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Headshot   Click Here to Email Headshot     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
In the case of the HST, closing the aperture door is/was absolutely necessary.

Scientists and engineers were not just worried about the massive amount of contaminants from RCS firings enveloping the shuttle and Hubble. Other shuttle systems were contaminant sources also. The cabin and propellant tanks were not perfectly sealed vessels, they all leaked, albeit not very much but they still leaked. Even the spacesuits the astronauts wore during the EVAs leaked.

Hubble scientists and engineers have been able to measure deterioration of Hubble's primary mirror. The deterioration is measurable, but not really noticeable. After 20+ years in orbit, this was to be expected. No one can differentiate how much of the deterioration is from micrometeorite impacts on the mirror's surface and contaminate deposits from the various shuttle service missions to Hubble, including the original deployment mission. We would have to return the mirror to Earth for testing and evaluation... and that will not happen.

As far as the ISS is concerned. Windows and solar cells are much more forgiving, as long as the light source is bright enough. A window would have to be seriously contaminated to affect visibility. The windows on all the Gemini spacecraft suffered contamination during the launch phase and yet the astronaut crews were able to take very good picture through them. The solar cells on opportunity are covered with dust and yet still produce electricity.

Now that the shuttle is retired, probably the main source of serious contamination for the cupola windows would be a break in a cooling line that would spray ammonia in the cupola's direction.

Jim Behling
Member

Posts: 537
From: Cape Canaveral, FL
Registered: Mar 2010

posted 01-10-2013 08:42 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Jim Behling   Click Here to Email Jim Behling     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Headshot:
The cabin and propellant tanks were not perfectly sealed vessels, they all leaked, albeit not very much but they still leaked. Even the spacesuits the astronauts wore during the EVAs leaked.
It wasn't the leakage so much, it was outgassing and water from water dumps and flash evaporators on the orbiter and from the sublimator on the EMUs.

Visiting vehicles (Soyuz, Progress, Dragon, Cygnus,etc) are just as much a source of contamination as the shuttle.

All times are CT (US)

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