Space Shuttle MMOD Threat Mitigation TechniquesPrior to each shuttle mission, threat assessments are performed to determine the risk of critical penetration, payload bay door radiator tube leak and crew module window replacement from Micrometeoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD). Mission parameters, such as vehicle attitude, exposure time and altitude are used as inputs for the analysis. Ballistic limit equations, based on hypervelocity impact testing of shuttle materials are used to estimate the critical particle diameters of the outer surfaces of the vehicle. The assessments are performed using the BUMPER computer code at the NASA/JSC Hypervelocity Impact Technology Facility (HITF). The most critical involves the calculation of Loss of Crew and Vehicle (LOCV) risk. An overview of significant MMOD impacts on the Payload Bay Door radiators, wing leading edge reinforced carbon-carbon (RCC) panels and crew module windows will be presented, along with a discussion of the techniques NASA has implemented to reduce the risk from MMOD impacts. This paper will describe on-orbit inspection of the RCC regions and the methods used discern hypervelocity impact damage. Impact damage contingency plans and on-orbit repair techniques will also be discussed. The wing leading edge impact detection system (WLEIDS) and it s role in the reduction of on-orbit risk reduction will be presented. Finally, an analysis of alternative shuttle flight attitudes on MMOD risk will be demonstrated.
Hyde, J. L. (Barrios Technology, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Christiansen, E. L. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Lear, D. M. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Kerr, J. H. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)