Analysis of the NASA shuttle hypervelocity impact database
Stucky, Michael S.
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A statistical analysis of the NASA Space Shuttle Hypervelocity Impact Database to find correlations between meteoroid and orbital debris (M/OD) impacts on the shuttle orbiter fleet and specific mission parameters; Inclination, Altitude, Duration and Year. M/OD impact data, regardless of location, particle type or mission was examined first, followed by the subcategories of Window data, Radiator data, Reinforced Carbon-Carbon (RCC) data, and Flexible Reusable Surface Insulation (FRSI) data. In an effort to characterize and evaluate the meteoroid and orbital debris (M/OD) environment in low earth orbit, post-flight surveys of the shuttle orbiters are conducted to identify damage caused by hypervelocity impacts from M/OD. Survey analysis determines whether the impactor was a naturally occurring meteoroid or man-made orbital debris, as well as the impactor's size and impact velocity. From the post-flight survey data, calculations on the number of impacts from specific particle diameters or specific particle materials are made and compared to mission parameters to help engineers design spacecraft for better mission efficiency by reducing the effects of M/OD impacts. This thesis analyzes the NASA Space Shuttle Hypervelocity Impact Database, using regression analysis software, to find correlations between M/OD impacts on the shuttle orbiter fleet and mission parameters to draw conclusions on what is influencing vehicle damage.
RightsThis publication is a work of the U.S. Government as defined in Title 17, United States Code, Section 101. Copyright protection is not available for this work in the United States.
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