1574. Composite Silicone Rubber Seals for the Space Telescope Program


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T M Tanabe, E M Yoshioka: 1574. Composite Silicone Rubber Seals for the Space Telescope Program. 1984.



The Space Telescope (ST), under development by NASA, will be permanent National Astronomical Observatory orbiting in space 310 miles above the earth. It will be placed in orbit and serviced as needed by the Space Shuttle. Lockheed Missiles & Space Company is the prime contractor for the ST. The ST will be a basic research facility that will study celestial objects with at least 10 times better resolution than can be seen from the ground. During development of the system, it was essential that suitable seal materials and configurations were selected / verified for the intended stringent environmental requirements. These requirements included: Retention of physical, mechanical and sealing properties at low temperatures (-170 F); protection against electro-magnetic interference; release of negligible amounts of volatile products in space environments; and complete sealing from any stray light from optical and telemetry sections. Two types of composite silicone rubber seal, a carbon-loaded and an embedded metal mesh, were developed. This paper describes the iterative design configuration process and evaluation to evolve the required seal materials/configurations.


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