NTRS - NASA Technical Reports Server

Back to Results
Hypervelocity impacts on Skylab 4/Apollo windowsThe three largest Skylab 4 Command Module windows that were exposed for 84 days to space were optically scanned for impact features as small as 30 microns in diameter. This scanning effort which was carried out at an opptical magnification of 35x, detected features approximately three times smaller than were found in the original 5x scanning effort over the entire window surface. Some 289 features were recorded from the 35x scan for later detailed analyses. Sixty of the largest and most promising features were cored from the windows for SEM and energy-dispersive X-ray spectrometer (EDS) analysis. Twenty-six of the cores contained craters with glassy pits, and of these, fourteen were found to contain strikingly obvious liners coating the interior of the glassy pit. The six largest features cored from the windows do not have a central glassy pit which leaves their previously reported hypervelocity origin in some doubt. The remaining twenty-eight features that were cored from the windows show no clear evidence for a hypervelocity origin and evidence available at this time is insufficient to identify an origin in Earth orbit or as ground damage. The EDS analysis of six of the seven liners that were examined show detectable aluminum in the liner or lip of the glassy pit. The source of aluminum is most probably an Earth orbiting population of aluminum oxide spherules, exhaust from solid rocket motors.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Clanton, U. S.
(NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Zook, H. A.
(NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Schultz, R. A.
(Lunar and Planetary Inst.)
Date Acquired
August 12, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 1985
Publication Information
Publication: Orbital Debris
Subject Category
Spacecraft Design, Testing And Performance
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
Document Inquiry

Available Downloads

There are no available downloads for this record.
No Preview Available