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Proceedings Paper

Atmospheric effects in spacecraft interiors following orbital debris penetration
Author(s): Joel E. Williamsen; John Serrano
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Paper Abstract

Orbital debris penetration of manned spacecraft is accompanied by a number of atmospheric effects that can pose a serious hazard to spacecraft and crew survival. These atmospheric effects can include overpressure, light flash, and temperature rise as hot particles from the penetration process impinge into the atmosphere of a manned spacecraft. This paper reports the results from a series of tests sponsored by the Marshall Space Flight Center and recently completed at the University of Alabama in Huntsville Aerophysics Research Center to study these effects. In these tests, a light gas gun was used to fire orbital debris particle simulants from 0.375 to 0.625 inches in diameter through target simulants into a large test chamber simulating the interior cabin of a spacecraft at 1 atmosphere. The test chamber was instrumented with pressure transducers, light sensors, and temparature gauges to measure the level of blast hazard associated with differing target and penetrator conditions at various distances from the target site. The mitigating effects of interior equipment racks and spall blankets were also measured. This report discusses the relationship between observed overpressure, light, and temperature effects and the hazard level that would be expected to cause crew injury.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 June 1995
PDF: 12 pages
Proc. SPIE 2483, Space Environmental, Legal, and Safety Issues, (23 June 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.212573
Show Author Affiliations
Joel E. Williamsen, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
John Serrano, Univ. of Alabama in Huntsville (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2483:
Space Environmental, Legal, and Safety Issues
Timothy D. Maclay, Editor(s)

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