MURI Center for Materials Chemistry In the Space Environment
The MURI (Multidisciplinary University Research Initiative program) Center for Materials Chemistry in the Space Environment will seek to develop a quantitative and predictive understanding of how materials degrade or become passivated in the space environment. This is a critical research area for the DoD and NASA given the large and increasing dependence on satellites and manned spacecraft that reside in, or pass through, the low-earth orbit (LEO) space environment. The physical and chemical environment at LEO is not benign, but rather presents a highly aggressive materials oxidation and degradation situation, ensuring that this will remain a key long-term technical issue for the DoD and NASA as long-duration space activities become even more common than at the present time. For such orbits the interaction of atomic oxygen with thin-film coatings and both structural and nonstructural materials plays a dominant role in the long-term viability and performance of orbiting spacecraft.