Experimental Optimization of Debris Shields
Experimentelle Optimierung von Debris-Schilden
Space environmental conditions are developing in a way that protection of space vehicles is becoming mandatory. Especially for manned missions space debris constitutes an increasing danger. Design and optimization of debris shields require experimental and numerical simulation techniques. At the Ernst-Mach-Institut, three high-performance two-stage light gas guns, high-speed visualization and measurement devices like image converter cameras, X-ray systems, drum cameras in connection with a high power Cu-vapour pulse laser, as well as dynamic stress monitoring systems are available. This equipment is employed to study penetration and perforation phenomena in bumper shields impacted by hypervelocity projectiles at velocities of up to 10 km/s. Thus, the terminal ballistic effectiveness of Micrometeoroid/Debris shield systems can be evaluated. Within ESA's COLUMBUS Meteoroid Debris Protection System Study (MDPS), optimization experiments have been performed. They resulted in a dual bumper Aluminium baseline shield system. Comparative experiments have beeen performed applying different new bumper material concepts, e.g. Kevlar and Al/Kevlar laminates. It was found that such modern shield configurations can improve the terminal ballistic effectiveness or lead to substantial weight reductions.