Luna coating provides radiation protection in space
May 6, 2015
Senior Research Scientist and Protective Materials Team Lead
Charge Dissipating Transparent Conformal Coating for Spacecraft Electronics
Space mission planners are continually striving to push technologies further to explore new and environmentally harsh regions of the universe. Associated space systems must meet their performance requirements regardless of environmental conditions and their engineering design and construction are paramount to their success. A possible future mission to explore Jupiter’s moon Europa, for example, would encounter radiation levels seven times greater than Earth’s geostationary orbit. In addition to the Jovian and other outer planet environments, highly charged environments can also exist at Geosynchronous Earth Orbit (GEO), Medium Earth Orbit (MEO), and Polar Low Earth Orbit (PLEO) owing to solar winds/storms and trapped radiation belts. There is therefore a need for advanced materials to protect sensitive spacecraft electronics from harsh energetic conditions across a variety of different mission platforms. To serve this need, Luna has developed a charge dissipating conductive conformal coating to enable greater radiation hardening and electrostatic discharge (ESD) mitigation for spacecraft electronics.
The coating is deemed LUNA XP-CD-B and was developed through a NASA STTR Phase I project (Contract #NNX11C129P). The coating meets the required volume resistivity of 1×108 – 1×1012 ohm-cm for ESD protection across a wide temperature range, is optically transparent, inspectable under ultraviolet light, easy to apply and repair, low outgassing, and has excellent adhesion and flexibility. The coating offers performance properties of both common conformal coating protection and radiation hardening through ESD mitigation. The addition of ESD protection in a single conformal coating gives spacecraft designers a new tool to protect sensitive electronics from