Comments on Are galvanised steel parts safe to use in space? mention that oxidation happens in the upper atmosphere because of the relatively high presence of oxygen ions.

This is apparently to the point where even aluminium needs to be coated.

  • Have any spacecraft ever been decommissioned because of oxidation?
  • Have there ever been oxidation problems for spacecraft beyond LEO?

Partial deterioration due to oxidation is also welcome.
The second question on spacecraft beyond LEO is not about space probes entering other atmospheres, but answers on probes orbiting or flying by non-earth bodies are welcome.
Is there even enough oxygen on worlds without plants though?

  • 3
    $\begingroup$ The shuttle had a cool atomic oxygen induced glow s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/courses-images/wp-content/uploads/… And the LDEF got eaten up by it space.stackexchange.com/a/30982/6944 $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Aug 27 '20 at 23:33
  • $\begingroup$ (mon)atomic oxygen is a serious problem as well. Oxygen does not need to be ionized to be highly reactive and oxidizing. Free single atoms of oxygen are highly reactive and this plot shows that by 200 km O dominates over O2. This is the cause of the "knee" in the plot of density versus height. $\endgroup$ – uhoh Aug 27 '20 at 23:35
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ If a satellite is decommissioned due to partial or total failure, how do you know it was caused by oxidation? Without a very careful inspection of the satellite in a lab on ground? $\endgroup$ – Uwe Aug 28 '20 at 8:32

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.