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Susceptibility of solar arrays to micrometeroid and space debris impact

: Schimmerohn, M.; Rott, M.; Gerhard, A.; Schäfer, F.; D'Accolti, G.

Ouwehand, L. (Ed.) ; European Space Agency -ESA-, Paris:
10th European Space Power Conference 2014. Proceedings. CD-ROM : 13-17 April 2014, Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands
Noordwijk: ESA Communications, 2014 (ESA SP 719)
ISBN: 978-92-9221-283-4
European Space Power Conference <10, 2014, Noordwijkerhout>
Fraunhofer EMI ()

The susceptibility of solar arrays to micrometeoroid and space debris impact was studied in a comprehensive study to clarify 1) whether, 2) in which manner and 3) under which conditions GEO telecom satellite solar arrays are affected by hypervelocity impact events. Impact induced discharges have been generated in highly instrumented impact experiments using a two-staged light gas guns and a plasma dynamic accelerator. The discharges were found to be temporary and without consequences for the functioning of the power generating network of state-of-the-art solar arrays designs. Permanently sustained destructive discharges have been generated for current-voltage characteristics that are significantly exceeding current ESD safe levels. The highest risk of impact induced failure of GEO solar arrays is posed by micrometeoroids and space debris hitting transfer harness cable bundles on its rear side.