Outcome of recent satellite impact experiments

T. Hanada, J. C. Liou, T. Nakajima, E. Stansbery

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26 Citations (Scopus)


This paper summarizes three micro-satellite impact tests completed in early 2007 through collaboration between Kyushu University and the NASA Orbital Debris Program Office. The previous experiments completed in late 2005 aimed to compare low- and hypervelocity impacts on identical target micro-satellites, whereas the new tests used larger micro-satellites as targets and aimed to investigate the effects of impact directions. Three identical micro-satellites equipped with fully functional electronic devices were prepared as targets. Their dimensions were 20 cm by 20 cm by 20 cm, and the mass of each was approximately 1.3 kg. Aluminum alloy solid spheres, with a diameter of 3 cm and a mass of 39 g, were prepared as projectiles. The impact velocity was approximately 1.7 km/s. The impact tests were carried out using the two-stage light gas gun at the Kyushu Institute of Technology. All target micro-satellites were completely fragmented, but there were noticeable differences among the three sets of fragments due to the different impact directions. More than 1000 fragments from each test were collected, measured, photographed, and documented with material descriptions. Preliminary results of the new data and comparisons with the previous data will be presented in the paper.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)558-567
Number of pages10
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • General Earth and Planetary Sciences


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