penetration mechanics would be completely different from those for the original debris particle. It would appear, therefore, that given the choice of either changing the density of spheres or using an “SBM flake” with a changing form to capture the effects of the shape of orbital debris particles, from a penetration mechanics standpoint the SBM flake is far superior.

Finding: Using aluminum spheres to develop ballistic limit equations for risk assessments for spacecraft may not accurately portray the range of damage likely from impact with an orbital debris particle of any given characteristic size and thus may result in a non-optimum design of the spacecraft’s MMOD protection systems.

Recommendation: A priority in the next release of the Orbital Debris Environment Model and Standard Breakup Model should be the inclusion of shape characteristics in the particle distributions to more accurately portray the range of potential damage from an impact with orbital debris.



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