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Using antennae for in-situ measurements of micrometeoroid and space debris impact

: Schimmerohn, Martin; Gulde, Max; Hilgers, A.

Volltext (PDF; )

Flohrer, T. ; European Space Agency -ESA-, Paris:
7th European Conference on Space Debris 2017. Proceedings. Online resource : Darmstadt, Germany, 18-21 April 2017
Noordwijk: ESA, 2017 (ESA SD Vol.7, Nr.1)
6 S.
European Conference on Space Debris <7, 2017, Darmstadt>
Konferenzbeitrag, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer EMI ()

The hypervelocity impact of micrometeoroids and space debris produce a transient plasma cloud when colliding with spacecraft surfaces. We studied the feasibility of using the interactions between the fast expanding impact plasma clouds with spacecraft antennae for in-situ impact detection. We used a numerical model for computing the formation and evolution of the plasma cloud as well as the signals generated at the antenna sensors. The generation of secondary electrons at the antennae due to fast ions in the plasma cloud proofed to be an effective mechanism to correlate sensor signals to impactor characteristics. We demonstrated that a simple array of seven centimeter-sized antennae is sufficient to trace back impactor size and impact velocity.