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Orbital impacts and the Space Shuttle windshieldThe Space Transportation System (STS) fleet has flown more than sixty missions over the fourteen years since its first flight. As a result of encounters with on-orbit particulates (space debris and micrometeoroids), 177 impact features (chips) have been found on the STS outer windows (through STS-65). Forty-five of the damages were large enough to warrant replacement of the window. NASA's orbital operations and vehicle inspection procedures have changes over the history of the shuttle program, in response to concerns about the orbital environment and the cost of maintaining the space shuttle. These programmatic issues will be discussed, including safety concerns, maintenance issues, inspection procedures and flight rule changes. Examples of orbital debris impacts to the shuttle windows will be provided. There will also be a brief discussion of the impact properties of glass and what design changes have been considered to improve the impact properties of the windows.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Legacy CDMS
Document Type
Technical Memorandum (TM)
Edelstein, Karen S.
(NASA Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
September 6, 2013
Publication Date
March 1, 1995
Subject Category
Space Transportation
Report/Patent Number
NAS 1.15:110594
Meeting Information
Meeting: Aerospace/Defense Sensing and Dual-Use Photonics
Location: Orlando, FL
Country: United States
Start Date: April 17, 1995
End Date: April 21, 1995
Accession Number
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.
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