Self-Bond on the International Space Station

Jacob Meyer

ATSP Innovations is excited to announce that coupons of our vitrimeric reversible adhesive will be installed on the Materials International Space Station Experiment (MISSE) for evaluation of its resistance to the harsh conditions of Low Earth Orbit during the MISSE-17 mission.

ATSP Innovations has developed our high glass transition temperature vitrimeric reversible adhesives called aromatic thermosetting copolyester (ATSP) for use as a reversible adhesive for in-space assembly. As the bonds integral to the resin structure are exchangeable above the glass transition temperature an indefinite capacity for rework/reversibility of the adhesive bond has been realized. Such a concept is valuable for future assembly and reconfigurability of large structures in space as the adhesive bond can be generated by mere application of local heat and pressure using a wide variety of means that we have demonstrated in prior research including embedded heating, Joule heating, induction heating, infrared heating, and microwave heating.  Additional prior experiments have shown that the capacity to continue reversible bonding was not significantly impacted by 10 years LEO equivalent exposures of both atomic oxygen as well as proton flux.

This experiment is critical to demonstration of the suitability of the material for applications for in-space assembly. The assembly containing 20 reversible bonding specimens will be exposed on the ram side of the MISSE facility. Following exposure to these conditions and after return to earth the reversible adhesive function using a custom-built reversible bonding toolkit as well as any changes in surface morphology and chemistry utilizing laser profilometry, dynamic mechanical analysis, Raman spectroscopy and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy.


ATSP Innovations would like to thank NASA and Aegis Aerospace for their collaboration on this project.