Meteoroids and orbital debris pose a serious damage threat to all spacecraft. The effects of a meteoroid/orbital debris (M/OD) impact depend on a variety of factors, including where the M/OD impact occurs, the size, composition, and speed of the impacting object, and the function of the impacted spacecraft system. These effects can be minimal, can degrade a functional spacecraft component, or can compromise spacecraft functionality, even to the point of mission loss or loss of life. To minimize the damage threat from the meteoroid/orbital debris environment, it is often necessary to install protective shielding around critical spacecraft systems. If a system cannot be shielded, operational constraints may need to be imposed to reduce the damage threat. This paper presents an overview of the research and development activities performed since the late 1950s with an aim of increasing the level of protection afforded satellites and spacecraft operating in the M/OD environment and ultimately mitigating the mechanical and structural effects of an M/OD impact.
Space Debris – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 30, 2004
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