An In Situ Measurement System for Characterizing Orbital Debris

Michael A. Tsao, Hau T. Ngo, Robert D. Corsaro, Christopher R. Anderson
2016 IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement  
This paper presents the development of an in situ measurement system known as the Debris Resistive Acoustic Grid Orbital Navy/NASA Sensor (DRAGONS). The DRAGONS system is designed to detect impacts caused by particles ranging from 50 micrometers to 1 mm at both low-earth and geostationary orbits. DRAGONS utilizes a combination of low-cost sensor technologies to facilitate accurate measurements and approximations of the size, velocity, and angle of impacting micrometeoroids and orbital debris
more » ... d orbital debris (MMOD). Two thin layers of kapton sheets with resistive traces are used to detect the changes in resistance that are directly proportional to the impacting force caused by the fast traveling particles. Four polyvinylidene fluoride-based sensors are positioned in the back of each kapton sheet to measure acoustic strain caused by an impact. The electronic hardware module that controls all operations employs a low-power, modular, and compact design that enables it to be installed as a low-resource load on a host satellite. Laboratory results demonstrate that in addition to having the ability to detect an impact event, the DRAGONS system can determine impact location, speed, and angle of impact with a mean error of 1.4 cm, 0.2 km/s, and 5. The DRAGONS system could be deployed as an add-on subsystem of a payload to enable a real-time, in-depth study of the properties of MMOD.
doi:10.1109/tim.2016.2599458 fatcat:rj4ev52konednfwd3eawep7uje