Measurement of thermo-optical properties of spacecraft materials

Veli-Pekka Lappalainen

Research output: Book/ReportReport


The thermo-optical properties of surface materials dictate the heat transfer between a spacecraft and its environment. Hence their application forms the basis of spacecraft temperature control. This publication presents the methods used at VTT for the measurement of hemispherical emittance and solar absorptance. The equipment for measuring hemispherical emittance has been constructed at the VTT Instrument Laboratory. Solar absorp tance is measured with radiometric equipment at the VTT Laboratory of Electrical and Automation Engineering. The results of measurements on several commonly used spacecraft thermal control surfaces are given and compared against reference values presented in the literature. The spacecraft thermal control surfaces measured were: an OSR (Optical Solar Reflector ) surface, an aluminum (VDA) surface, two Kapton (aluminized) surfaces, a Mylar (aluminized) surface and two painted aluminum surfaces, one black and the other white.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationEspoo
PublisherVTT Technical Research Centre of Finland
Number of pages42
ISBN (Print)951-38-4396-3
Publication statusPublished - 1993
MoE publication typeNot Eligible

Publication series

SeriesVTT Publications


  • thermo-optical properties
  • spacecraft
  • materials
  • solar absorptance
  • total hemispherical emittance
  • calorimetric temperature decay method
  • reflectance method, intergrating sphere
  • thermal variables measurement
  • surfaces


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