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Handbook for Designing MMOD ProtectionSpacecraft are subject to micro-meteoroid and orbital debris (MMOD) impact damage which have the potential to degrade performance, shorten the mission, or result in catastrophic loss of the vehicle. Specific MMOD protection requirements are established by NASA for each spacecraft early in the program/project life, to ensure the spacecraft meets desired safety and mission success goals. Both the design and operations influences spacecraft survivability in the MMOD environment, and NASA considers both in meeting MMOD protection requirements. The purpose of this handbook is to provide spacecraft designers and operations personnel with knowledge gained by NASA in implementing effective MMOD protection for the International Space Station, Space Shuttle, and various science spacecraft. It has been drawn from a number of previous publications [10-14], as well as new work. This handbook documents design and operational methods to reduce MMOD risk. In addition, this handbook describes tools and equations needed to design proper MMOD protection. It is a living report, in that it will be updated and re-released periodically in future with additional information. Providing effective and efficient MMOD protection is essential for ensuring safe and successful operations of spacecraft and satellites. A variety of shields protect crew modules, external pressurized vessels and critical equipment from MMOD on the International Space Station (ISS). Certain Space Shuttle Orbiter vehicle systems are hardened from MMOD impact, and operational rules are established to reduce the risk from MMOD (i.e., flight attitudes are selected and late inspection of sensitive thermal protection surfaces are conducted to reduce MMOD impacts). Science spacecraft include specific provisions to meet MMOD protection requirements in their design (for example, Stardust & GLAST). Commercial satellites such as Iridium and Bigelow Aerospace Genesis spacecraft incorporate MMOD protection. The development of low-weight, effective MMOD protection has enabled these spacecraft missions to be performed successfully. This handbook describes these shielding techniques. For future exploration activities to the Moon and Mars, implementing high-performance MMOD shielding will be necessary to meet protection requirements with minimum mass penalty. A current area of technology development in MMOD shielding is the incorporation of sensors to detect and locate MMOD impact damage. Depending on the type of sensor the signals from the sensor can be processed to infer the location of the impact and the extent of damage. The objective of the sensors is to locate critical damage that would endanger the spacecraft or crew immediately or during reentry (such as an air leak from crew module or critical damage to thermal protection system of reentry vehicles). The information from the sensors can then be used with repair kits, patch kits, hatch closure or other appropriate remedial techniques to reduce MMOD risk.
Document ID
Document Type
Arnold, Jim (California Univ. Berkeley, CA, United States)
Christiansen, Eric L. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Davis, Alan (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Hyde, James (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Lear, Dana (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Liou, J.C. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Lyons, Frankel (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Prior, Thomas (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Studor, George (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Ratliff, Martin (Jet Propulsion Lab., California Inst. of Tech. Pasadena, CA, United States)
Ryan, Shannon
Giovane, Frank
Corsaro, Bob
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
January 28, 2009
Subject Category
Space Transportation and Safety
Report/Patent Number
JSC-64399, Version A
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.

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