Title

Hypervelocity Impact of a Pressurized Vessel: Comparison of Ballistic Limit Equation Predictions with Test Data and Rupture Limit Equation Development

Abstract

Most spacecraft have at least one pressurized vessel on board. For robotic spacecraft, it is usually a liquid propellant tank. One of the design considerations of such spacecraft is the possible damage that might occur in the event of an on-orbit impact by a micro-meteoroid or orbital debris (MMOD) particle. While considerable effort has been expended in the study of the response of non-pressurized spacecraft components to these kinds of impacts, relatively few studies have been conducted on the pressurized elements of such spacecraft. This paper presents the results of a study performed to address the following aspects of this problem: how well current ballistic limit equations predict impact-induced perforation damage that might occur in pressurized spacecraft components such as tanks; and, the development of data-driven rupture limit equations that can be used to differentiate between impact conditions that would result in only a small hole or crack, from those that would cause catastrophic tank failure. This information would be useful to a design engineer who might be able to select tank materials to avoid catastrophic tank failure in the event of a perforating on-orbit MMOD particle impact. Tank perforation would typically result in a failed mission; and catastrophic tank failure might generate multiple pieces of new debris, increasing the risk to other spacecraft.

Department(s)

Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Ballistics; Debris; Liquid propellants; Orbits; Perforating; Propellants; Space debris; Spacecraft; Tanks (containers); Ballistic limit equations; Catastrophic failures; MMOD; Orbital debris; Pressurized vessels; Propellant tank; Spacecraft propulsion

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0094-5765

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version

Citation

File Type

text

Language(s)

English

Rights

© 2015 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

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