Statement of Task

Drawing upon available data and analyses, including information presented by NASA and other agencies, the committee will assess the space shuttle program’s strategy for assessing and mitigating the threat posed by the meteoroid or orbital debris environment and recommend alternative strategies where appropriate. Specifically, the committee will review and assess:

  • the meteoroid/debris environment model used by the space shuttle program

  • current techniques for pre-flight prediction of meteoroid and debris damage to the shuttle (taking into account the actual damage seen on past shuttle missions)

  • current techniques for characterizing the potential for loss of the crew or the shuttle due to meteoroid or debris impacts

  • the ability of the current Space Shuttle shielding and operational approaches to protect the space shuttle from meteoroids and debris impacts

  • proposed design modifications to reduce the hazard to the shuttle from meteoroids and debris

  • operational procedures and hardware to reduce the hazard to the shuttle and its crew in the case of damaging meteoroid or debris impacts

  • the space shuttle program’s approach to collision avoidance

  • the need for additional data on the meteoroid/debris environment in the shuttle orbit, and appropriate measures to gather that data

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