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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


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 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

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.

Design choices
Design Choices

  • Processing

    • FPGA

    • Microcontroller

  • GUI

    • Web Based

    • Windows/Linux

  • Data Storage

    • On-Board

    • Streaming

  • Data Transfer

    • USB

    • RS-232

    • Ethernet

Lessons learned
Lessons Learned

  • Carbon fiber process

  • PCB layout can be difficult

  • The EHI sensor is a promising and viable technology