Preliminary Assessment of New Orbital Debris Shielding for Unmanned Satellites


J. Wilkinson; H. Stokes; R. Walker (2000), JBIS53, 111-116

Refcode: 2000.53.111

The numerous rocket launches and spacecraft deployments carried out since the dawn of the space age have generated a large orbiting population of man-made debris. Without the adoption of mitigation measures, it is likely that this population will continue to increase in the future. The ever-growing collision threat posed to operating spacecraft from these debris objects is therefore fast becoming a driver in the design of new spacecraft missions. DERA, under contract from the European Space Agency (ESA), is developing new techniques to provide mass- and cost-effective solutions to this spacecraft protection problem. Direct shielding methods such as enhancing a spacecraft’s thermal blankets with strong materials and adapting the honeycomb panel structure are being investigated, as are indirect shielding methods such as reconfiguration of critical or susceptible units. This paper reports the latest results of the direct shielding research.