X-ray Timing Explorer (XTE)

The XTE spacecraft was launched in December 1995. SA is composed of two wings of three rigid panels each, with silicon solar cells. Shortly after launch, the array showed discontinuous current drops, consistent with the loss of a part of a cell, when coming out from eclipse. The failure mechanism seems to be cell cracks not detected in ground inspections that became open in orbit due to the temperature gradients. These cracks were probably produced during the extensive tap tests, performed to detect SCA to substrate delaminations. During testing on the ground, following the same activities as for the flight SA, the qualification panel showed these effects, giving high confidence to this theory [92].

Updated: August 22, 2015 — 11:53 pm