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Cumulative effects of micrometeoroid impacts on spacecraft
2010 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

The geostationary orbit (GEO), which is an ideal orbit for communication and earth observation satellites, is accumulating an increasing number of spacecraft. Lack of atmospheric drag keeps the retired satellites near GEO orbit extremely long. Therefore it is interesting and meaningful to know the long-term effects of micrometeoroid impacts on spacecraft. This thesis aims to study the cumulative effects of micrometeoroid impacts on spacecraft in GEO and quantify the timescale for them to damage the typical spacecraft surface materials that are currently widely used in space missions. The mechanism of hypervelocity impact by a single particle is thoroughly reviewed and a set of damage scaling equations are chosen to evaluate the damage of single micrometeoroid impact. In combination with the implementation of the interplanetary meteoroid flux model developed by GrĂ¼n et al., the cumulative effects of micrometeoroid impacts on cover glass of solar cells, MLI and radiators are quantified in terms of Volume Ejection Rate (VER) and Area Damage Rate (ADR). Furthermore a simple model is developed to predict the probability of a catastrophic collision between a meteoroid particle and a spacecraft. The results from both long-term effects and catastrophic collision are discussed and compared. The results show that it takes about several ten thousands years for micrometeoroid impacts to erode away the cover glass material and radiator material, or cover all the MLI surface area, and that after 100 years the chance of a catastrophic collision that can totally fragment the impact target is about one impact per hundred thousand years. According to the study herein only re-orbiting spent GEO satellites to graveyard orbit is not a sustainable enough solution in the long term.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Keyword [en]
Physics Chemistry Maths, Micrometeoroid, Hypervelocity impacts, Cumulative effects, spacecraft
Keyword [sv]
Fysik, Kemi, Matematik
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-55569ISRN: LTU-PB-EX--10/037--SELocal ID: c6c54d23-552d-4c96-9c35-ab92f75056a3OAI: diva2:1028953
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Space Engineering, master's level
Validerat; 20101217 (root)Available from: 2016-10-04 Created: 2016-10-04Bibliographically approved

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