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31 October 1996 Using solar cells as microparticle detectors in low earth orbit
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Abstract
On retrieval from low Earth orbit (LEO), the solar arrays from the European retrievable carrier (EuReCa) and one solar array wing of the Hubble Space Telescope (HST) were inspected for micrometeoroid and space debris impact damage. Seven-hundred-three and eight-hundred-fourteen impact sites respectively were analyzed in detail. Interpretation of particle parameters from this large data set can yield a useful measurement of the micrometeoroid and debris flux in LEO. Due to similar orbital parameters, this then provides a flux measurement complimentary to those measured by the timeband capture cell experiment (TiCCE) of the EuReCa spacecraft and detectors and exposed surfaces on the Long Duration Exposure Facility (LDEF). To allow comparison of data from the space retrieved solar cells to previous data, solar cell material, glass and aluminum targets were impacted for inter-calibration using the University of Kent's Light Gas Gun (LGG). An average of 20 impact sites on each target material per shot were measured. It was decided to consider only non-perforations of the 150 micron thick CMX cover glass, common to both EuReCa and HST solar cells. Trends in crater morphology of the laboratory impacts are discussed and compared to those from space impacts. The effects of impact angle and crater scaling with particle size are investigated and a conversion from appropriate solar cell crater parameters to the ballistic limit in aluminum is presented.
© (1996) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Nicholas R.G. Shrine, Emma A. Taylor, Hajime Yano, Andrew D. Griffiths, and J. Anthony M. McDonnell "Using solar cells as microparticle detectors in low earth orbit", Proc. SPIE 2813, Characteristics and Consequences of Orbital Debris and Natural Space Impactors, (31 October 1996); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.256075
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