Micrometeoroid and orbital debris detection
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Client Alan Cassell at NASA AMES Faculty Advisor Jay McCormack Mentor Greg Swanson Team Members Matt Arnone, Nick Harris, Matt Hinkelman , Jay Hirata, Matt Mihelish , Alex Swanson. MicroMeteoroid and Orbital Debris Detection. Project Description.

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MicroMeteoroid and Orbital Debris Detection

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Micrometeoroid and orbital debris detection


Alan Cassell at NASA AMES

Faculty Advisor

Jay McCormack


Greg Swanson

Team Members

Matt Arnone, Nick Harris, Matt Hinkelman, Jay Hirata, Matt Mihelish, Alex Swanson

MicroMeteoroid and Orbital Debris Detection

Project description

Project Description

  • Electronic Hit Indicator (EHI) testing

  • Micro Meteoroid and Orbital Debris (MMOD) impact testing

  • Test fixture

  • High speed data acquisition

  • Graphical User Interface (GUI)

  • Finite Element Analysis (FEA) simulation

Photo from NASA.gov

Broken Space Shuttle Endeavor tile

Photo from NASA.gov

Columbia 2003

Orion Space Capsule

Ehi sensor

EHI Sensor

Current takes the path of least resistance

Potential integration points

Potential Integration Points

- Forebody TPS

- Backshell TPS

- Service Module Extension

Specifications and deliverables

Specifications and Deliverables

  • Test Fixture

    • Hold and EHI at a specified distance from the material being tested

    • Support for testing different configurations of thermal protection systems and EHI’s

    • Easily and quickly mount to the 17 caliber gun at the White Sands Test Facility

  • Hardware

    • High speed (> 1MHz)

    • 128 trace sensor size

    • Plug and play

  • Software

    • Display impact data in a meaningful way

    • Save data for future analysis

Test fixture design

Test Fixture Design

Test fixture design cont

Test Fixture Design Cont.

Service Module Extension

Steel Support Rods

Aluminum Clamping Plates

Electronic Hit Indicators (EHI)

Steel Back Plate

Sheet Metal Backing

Thermal Protection System (TPS)

Aluminum Collars

Service module extension

Service Module Extension

Finite element analysis impact simulation

Finite Element Analysis: Impact Simulation

Test layout

Test Layout

To achieve the velocity necessary to simulate an MMOD impact, a 17 caliber 2-stage light gas gun is used. With this gun, the projectile is capable of reaching a velocity of 7 km/s using a 3.4 mm projectile.

Data acquisition system

Data Acquisition System

Design choices

Design Choices

  • Processing

    • FPGA

    • Microcontroller

  • GUI

    • Web Based

    • Windows/Linux

  • Data Storage

    • On-Board

    • Streaming

  • Data Transfer

    • USB

    • RS-232

    • Ethernet

Design process

Design Process



The board

The Board



Final product

Final Product



Results cont

Results Cont.

Results cont1

Results Cont.

Lessons learned

Lessons Learned

  • Carbon fiber process

  • PCB layout can be difficult

  • The EHI sensor is a promising and viable technology

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