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Proceedings Paper

Catastrophic failure of stored energy modules following orbital debris penetration
Author(s): Joel E. Williamsen; Charles J. Goodwin
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Paper Abstract

The population of dangerous orbital debris particles in low Earth orbit is growing, resulting in a need for improved risk assessment and risk management of critical space station elements from this hypervelocity impact threat. The effects of micrometeoroid and orbital debris (M/OD) penetration on space station equipment can very from a local damage problem to a possible catastrophic system failure (i.e., crew or station loss). Given this possibility, a preliminary study was undertaken by Meyer Analytics and NASA-MSFC to quantify and reduce the likelihood of catastrophic failure following orbital debris penetration of two Russian supplied modules: the FGB Energy Block module and the SPP-1 gyrodyne module. Each of these modules contains stored energy in the form of chemical propellants (UDMH), high pressure tanks, or kinetic energy (gyrodynes) that may release energy and propagate damage to the rest of the space station if impacted by a sufficiently energetic orbital debris particle. The study recommended design improvements to lower these probabilities, including spall blankets around the gyrodynes to lower the probability of gyrodyne penetration and fragment damage given gyrodyne rupture.

Paper Details

Date Published: 31 October 1996
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 2813, Characteristics and Consequences of Orbital Debris and Natural Space Impactors, (31 October 1996); doi: 10.1117/12.256055
Show Author Affiliations
Joel E. Williamsen, NASA Marshall Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Charles J. Goodwin, Meyer Analytics (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2813:
Characteristics and Consequences of Orbital Debris and Natural Space Impactors
Timothy D. Maclay; Firooz A. Allahdadi, Editor(s)

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