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Experimental verification of an innovative debris detector

: Bauer, W.; Romberg, O.; Putzar, R.


Acta astronautica 117 (2015), S.49-54
ISSN: 0094-5765
Fraunhofer EMI ()

To analyse the quantity of space debris and micrometeoroids in space, an innovative in-situ impact detection method has been developed at DLR (German Aerospace Center) in Bremen, Germany. The method Solar generator based Impact Detector "SOLID" uses solar panels for impact detection. Since solar panels provide large detection areas, this method allows for the collection of large amounts of data, to be used also for model validation. Furthermore, impact damage can be verified once more to confirm or to refute an impact. Both aspects can significantly improve the quality of model validation by using large amounts of highly reliable data. A verification of the detection method was performed by Hypervelocity Impact (HVI) tests at Fraunhofer EMI, Freiburg, Germany. The HVI tests were conducted using projectiles with a diameter between 500 µm and 2 mm. The impact velocity of those objects ranged from 3.9 km/s to 6.2 km/s. The objective of this investigation was to test the applicability of the developed method concerning in-situ detection of space debris and micrometeoroids. The achieved test results are in agreement with ESA developed damage equations. The ability of the detection method SOLID for impact detection of space debris and micrometeoroids was clearly demonstrated.