Atomic Oxygen Space Simulator (ATOX)

Atomic Oxygen Space Simulator (ATOX)

Atomic Oxygen Space Simulator (ATOX)
The external walls of the satellites and the Space Station are attacked by atomic oxygen which is the dominant constituent of the residual atmosphere. This gas which is naturally active under standard conditions becomes very aggressive due to its relative speed of 8 km/s with respect to the satellites.
A test facility has been studied and built for simulating this environment and for allowing to analyse the effects on samples of materials. The so-called ATOX facility produces atomic oxygen at 20000 K from the molecular gas broken down by a pulsed laser.
The atoms are accelerated by a nozzle up to 8 km/s. ATOX is equipped by a full set of plasma analysis and diagnostic instruments. The samples attacked by the oxygen atoms can be thermally regulated between + 150 and - 150°C. The oxygen fluence can be adjusted within a dynamic range of 1000.

The Atomic Oxygen Facility has been designed and built following the specifications of ESTEC.

Customer : ESA (European Space Agency)

 




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