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  • External Contamination Environment of International Space Station Externally Mounted Payloads

    Paper number



    Mr. Carlos Soares, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, United States


    Mr. Ronald Mikatarian, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, United States


    Dr. William Schmidl, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, United States


    Courtney Pankop, The Boeing Company, United States


    Mr. Kendall Smith, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, United States


    Dr. Steven Koontz, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)/Johnson Space Center, United States



    International Space Station (ISS) externally mounted payloads will be exposed to external contamination. This induced environment includes contributions from ISS external contamination sources (such as outgassing from modules and elements, water dumps and thruster plumes) as well as contamination generated by adjacent payloads.
    A discussion of the ISS external contamination environments at attached payload sites is presented.  These sites include (1) the US attached payload sites, (2) the Japanese attached payload sites and (3) the European attached payload sites.
    Following the work of identifying and characterizing the external contamination contributions from ISS sources, an analysis of payload-to-payload contamination was performed.  The analysis results detailed in this paper show that external contamination contributions from adjacent payloads could be significantly higher than the contribution from ISS sources.
    Once it became established that payload-to-payload contamination is of such significance, guidelines for a contamination control plan were developed for U.S. attached payloads to ensure that a given payload does not produce excessive contamination of adjacent payloads.
    A summary of the major points from the guidelines document for the control plan is detailed in this paper.  Corrective actions that will significantly limit the contamination environment produced by ISS adjacent payloads include (1) proper selection of nonmetallic materials and surface coatings during the early design phases of the payload, (2) careful and thoughtful selections of active and passive vent locations, and (3) strict adherence to a payload verification plan that will be prepared by the payload developer for review and acceptance by the ISS External Contamination Team.  Implementation and adherence to this plan is essential during the design, development, and integration phases of ISS external payloads.
    Abstract document


    Manuscript document

    IAC-05-B4.3.06.pdf (🔒 authorized access only).

    To get the manuscript, please contact IAF Secretariat.