We are developing a silica-aerogel-based cosmic dust collector for use in the Tanpopo experiment to be conducted on the International Space Station. The mass production of simple two-layer hydrophobic aerogels was undertaken in a contamination-controlled environment, yielding more than 100 undamaged products. The collector, comprising an aerogel tile and holder panel, was designed to resist launch vibration and to conform to an exposure attachment. To this end, a box-framing aerogel with inner and outer densities of 0.01 and 0.03 g/cm3, respectively, was fabricated. The aerogel mounted in the panel passed random vibration tests at the levels of the acceptance and qualification tests for launch. It also withstood the pressure changes expected in the airlock on the International Space Station.
2014 The Japan Society for Aeronautical and Space Sciences