Prediction and Enhancement of Thermal Protection Systems From Meteoroid Damage Using a Smooth Particle Hydrodynamic Code

August, 2022
IDA document: P-33175
FFRDC: Systems and Analyses Center
Type: Documents , Space
Division: Operational Evaluation Division
Joel E. Williamsen, Michael Squire, Robert F. Stellingwerf, Steven W. Evans See more authors
Interplanetary spacecraft are exposed to meteoroid fluxes that range in speeds far above the capability of today’s test facilities to provide predictions for the likelihood of spacecraft critical penetration. Of special interest are sample return missions, which (though protected by shielding) must often survive years of exposure to the meteoroid environment in order to re-enter Earth’s atmosphere with their scientific cargo. This paper describes the simulation of meteoric material damage to thermal protection systems (TPS) housed beneath protective “garage” (shielding) enclosures using the Smooth Particle Hydrodynamics Code (SPHC) operated by the Institute for Defense Analyses and Stellingwerf Consulting in support of ongoing NASA tasks.