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Proceedings Paper

Orbital impacts and the space shuttle windshield
Author(s): Karen S. Edelstein
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Paper Abstract

The Space Transportation System (STS) fleet has flown more than sixty missions over the fourteen years since its first flight. As a result of encounters with on-orbit particulates (space debris and micrometeoroids), 177 impact features (chips) have been found on the STS outer windows (through STS-65). Forty-five of the damages were large enough to warrant replacement of the window. NASA's orbital operations and vehicle inspection procedures have chnaged over the history of the shuttle program, in response to concerns about the orbital environment and the cost of maintaining the space shuttle. These programmatic issues will be discussed, including safety concerns, maintenance issues, inspection procedures, and flight rule changes. Examples of orbital debris impacts to the shuttle windows will be provided. There will also be a brief discussion of the impact properties of glass and what design changes have been considered to improve the impact properties of the windows.

Paper Details

Date Published: 23 June 1995
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 2483, Space Environmental, Legal, and Safety Issues, (23 June 1995); doi: 10.1117/12.212574
Show Author Affiliations
Karen S. Edelstein, NASA Johnson Space Ctr. (United States)


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

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