Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF)

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[top] Overview

The Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF) was a school bus-sized cylindrical facility on the space environment and its effects on space systems and operations. Taking advantage of the Space Shuttle, it successfully carried science and technology experiments that have revealed a broad and detailed collection of space environmental data. The LDEF concept evolved from a spacecraft proposed by NASA Langley Research Center (LaRC) in 1970 to study the meteoroid environment, the Meteoroid and Exposure Module (MEM). (See Impact and Projectile Range.) It was placed in low-Earth orbit by the space shuttle Challenger in April 1984, and retrieved bu the space shuttle Columbia in January 1990. It successfully carried science and technology experiments for about 5 1/2 years that have revealed a broad and detailed collection of space environmental data.

LDEF's 69 months in space provided scientific data on the long-term effects of space exposure on materials, components and systems that has benefited NASA spacecraft designers to this day. There were a total of 80 test trays on LDEF. LDEF had 12 sides and 2 end caps to hold test trays and experiments. The LDEF was built at NASA Langley.

To read more about the LDEF artifacts that were cataloged in April 2014, Click Here.

[top] Photos

Bill Kinard in 1959 - "Mr. LDEF"Pre-launch in building 1250Test plate from building 1275 compared to LDEF samplePrepping an LDEF experimentLightner & Kinard with modelLDEF deployment in spaceLDEF attached to robotic arm of Space Shuttle


Collection of photos from Ira W. Ramsey

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Collection of photos from Keith Henry, Public Affairs

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[top] Documents

NASA Information Summaries LDEF

NASA Facts LDEF

More Than Just a Science Project Bruton Student Works at NASA.

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