Ballistic Limit Curves for Non-Spherical Projectiles Impacting Dual-Wall Spacecraft Systems


Ballistic limit curves for dual-wall spacecraft systems are typically developed using ground-Based hypervelocity impact tests with spherical projectiles. However, most orbital debris particles are not spherical and can take any shape. Non-spherical projectiles can also be more damaging than equal mass spherical projectiles. Although some recent efforts have examined the effects of non-spherical projectile impacts, ballistic limit curves for non-spherical projectiles are still not available. This paper presents the results of a study in which numerical simulation methods were used to develop ballistic limit curves for a variety of non-spherical projectile shapes impacting a typical dual-wall spacecraft configuration. Ballistic limit curves for non-spherical projectiles are presented and compared against that for spherical projectiles impacting the same wall system. It is found that long cylinder and long cone projectiles have a higher penetrating capability than all other projectile shapes considered, including spherical projectiles. the implication is that if a spacecraft wall system is designed using spherical projectile-Based ballistic limit curves, the design will likely be non-conservative. © 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering

Keywords and Phrases

Aluminum; Ballistic limit; Dual-wall; Non-spherical projectile; Orbital debris; Shielding; Spacecraft

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Article - Conference proceedings

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© 2024 Elsevier, All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Dec 2003