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As of Dec. 29, 2004 there were 9,233
objects large enough to be tracked. Of this total there were 2,297 payloads,
along with 6,306 objects classed as rocket bodies and debris. The cumulative
mass of these objects is approximately 2,000,000 kg.
A target can be punctured by an object
larger than about a third of the target thickness.
Because of the high
speed , the kinetic energy of HVI is very large. An impact of this type would
be more like an explosion.
As an example, a 1 cm sphere moving at 10 km/s
has an impact energy corresponding to the explosive force of a hand
The momentum transfer during impact can change spacecraft
altitude and disrupt formation flying.
Short circuits in solar panels can
result in a loss of power and cripple a spacecraft.
Every impact creates
an “impact plasma” which can lead to electrical noise in circuits and
interfere with experiments.
The impact plasma can also trigger
electrostatic discharge if the space environment had charged up the spacecraft
The mode of the frequencies and
amplitudes was used to increase the accuracy
of the maps. The amplitude maps will provide a standard of comparison with the maps of the LGG impacted plates when
they are completed. Since the maps correspond with the bottom plate (where the PZTs are attached) a wave
pattern can be seen coming from the rods. The areas
of high amplitude represent constructive interference of waves, while the areas of lower amplitude represent destructive interference of
waves. Higher amplitudes tend to occur in the region of
PZTs. As far as the frequency maps, it is more difficult to come to some logical conclusion as to
what is going on there. There is not an observable pattern. One
can, however, see how the frequency is distributed
on the plate. Future work will complete the mapping of impacted plates and then a comparison can be made to the
control plates to see if amplitudes and
frequencies are shifted. In this way dangerous impacts with space debris can be monitored, hopefully predicting