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27 October 1998 Spacecraft compartment venting
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At various times, concerns have been expressed that rapid decompressions of compartments of gas pockets and thermal blankets during spacecraft launches may have caused pressure differentials across their walls sufficient to cause minor structural failures, separations of adhesively-joined parts, ballooning, and flapping of blankets. This paper presents a close form equation expressing the expected pressure differentials across the walls of a compartment as a function of the external to the volume pressure drops, the pressure at which the rates occur and the vent capability of the compartment. The pressure profiles measured inside the shrouds of several spacecraft propelled by several vehicles and some profiles obtained from ground vacuum systems have been included. The equation can be used to design the appropriate vent, which will preclude excessive pressure differentials. Precautions and needed approaches for the evaluations of the expected pressures have been indicated. Methods to make a rapid assessment of the response of the compartment to rapid external pressure drops have been discussed. These are based on the evaluation of the compartment vent flow conductance, the volume and the length of time during which the rapid pressure drop occurs.
© (1998) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
John J. Scialdone "Spacecraft compartment venting", Proc. SPIE 3427, Optical Systems Contamination and Degradation, (27 October 1998);


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