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Proceedings Paper

Photographic surveys of the Mir space station and the detection of orbital debris and meteoroid impacts
Author(s): Mike Gaunce; Robert A. Scharf; Nicholas L. Johnson; Eric L. Christiansen
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Paper Abstract

During the period February 1995 - May 1997, the U.S. Space Shuttle visited the Russian Mir space station on one close rendezvous and six docking missions. A detailed test objective (DTO-1118) called for extensive photographic and video imagery of the Mir complex for several purposes, including to assess the overall condition of the station and to study the effects of the space environment on a long-duration orbiting platform. Thousands of photographs of Mir from 35 mm Nikon and 70 mm Hasselblad cameras were taken, and more than one hundred hours of video from several cameras located in the Space Shuttle cargo bay were collected. A review of these photographic data has revealed evidence of numerous small particle impacts. This paper describes the photographic analysis effort at the NASA Johnson Space Center with an emphasis on Mir particulate damage assessment. Sample photographs depicting impact effects are provided. A preliminary attempt is made to compare the observed impacts with predictions based on environmental models. A comprehensive comparison between data and the models is hampered by the lack of a complete historical record of the attitude of the Mir space station and by an inability to distinguish between orbital debris and meteoroid impacts from only remote photographic evidence.

Paper Details

Date Published: 1 October 1997
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 3116, Small Spacecraft, Space Environments, and Instrumentation Technologies, (1 October 1997); doi: 10.1117/12.293332
Show Author Affiliations
Mike Gaunce, NASA Johnson Space Ctr. (United States)
Robert A. Scharf, Lockheed Martin Space Mission Systems & Services (United States)
Nicholas L. Johnson, NASA Johnson Space Ctr. (United States)
Eric L. Christiansen, NASA Johnson Space Ctr. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3116:
Small Spacecraft, Space Environments, and Instrumentation Technologies
Firooz A. Allahdadi; E. Kane Casani; Timothy D. Maclay; Firooz A. Allahdadi; Timothy D. Maclay, Editor(s)

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