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Particle size, number, composition and velocity from solid rocket motorsThe damage potentials to the space shuttle orbiter caused by the high velocity particles contained in the exhaust plume of an upper stage is discussed. In particular, the particle size distribution and composition, the velocity of the particles and the expected contribution from shuttle launched upper stages are addressed. Particle size estimates based on historical data are compapred with those derived from upper stage motor performance testing. The particle velocities as determined by the best available plume computational technique are presented. The shuttle is scheduled to launch approximately 135 upper-stages over its lifetime looking at the currently scheduled flights and averaging over a yearly basis yields the contribution of particulates from the uper-stages. On the average, 91,645 llbs of Al2O3 will be ejected on each launch. The analysis to determine how much of this 91,645 lbs will remain in orbit or the decay rate is yet to be accomplished.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Conference Paper
Roberts, B. B.
(NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 12, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 1985
Publication Information
Publication: Orbital Debris
Subject Category
Spacecraft Propulsion And Power
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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