The implementation of cost effective debris protection in unmanned spacecraft

  • Stokes P
  • Swinerd G
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Abstract

Proper characterisation of the survivability of an unmanned spacecraft to debris impact must go beyond just a simple assessment of the probability of penetration. Some penetrative damage may be survivable, particularly if critical internal equipment is arranged judiciously. Consideration of the satellite architecture can be seen as a potentially cost-effective and complementary approach to the more traditional method of adding shielding mass. To quantify the benefits of both strategies, and identify candidate protection solutions for a typical satellite design, a new model called SHIELD has been developed. Competing protection options are evaluated using a survivability metric. Rapid convergence on one or more 'good' designs can also be achieved with a built-in genetic algorithm search method. SHIELD's potential as a project support tool is illustrated by applying it to the survivability evaluation of a satellite currently under design. The effectiveness of the genetic algorithm is also demonstrated, but on a more idealised spacecraft design. © 2004 COSPAR. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cost effective debris protection
  • Space debris
  • Unmanned spacecraft

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Authors

  • P. H. Stokes

  • G. G. Swinerd

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