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  Atlantis suffered major MMOD hit

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Author Topic:   Atlantis suffered major MMOD hit
Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-04-2006 01:52 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
The following photos were provided to collectSPACE by a source close to NASA:

From NASASpaceFlight.com:

quote:
Shuttle orbiter Atlantis was hit by a MMOD (micrometeoroid/orbiting debris) event during STS-115, which NASA is describing as the "first or second largest hit" in the history of the Shuttle program.

While the debris hit a radiator panel on the cargo bay doors, NASA are concerned, given the size of the MMOD, which they claim was large enough to have penetrated - possibly critically - Atlantis' heatshield.


[Edited by Robert Pearlman (October 04, 2006).]

MCroft04
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From: Smithfield, Me, USA
Registered: Mar 2005

posted 10-04-2006 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for MCroft04   Click Here to Email MCroft04     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Could the crew have felt the impact? Any possibility that the impact is related to the unidentified debris that the crew saw?

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-04-2006 06:46 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
If the crew felt it, they didn't appear to have reported it. In regards to the debris, NBC correspondent Jim Oberg writes:
quote:
The daily reports from Mission Control to the crew do not appear to contain any reference to the damage, raising the possibility that it escaped detection during the numerous camera sweeps that were performed in flight. Those examinations focused on the shuttle’s thermal protection system — its heat-resistant tiles, blankets and panels.

During the preparations for Atlantis' landing, NASA spotted what appeared to be several small objects floating near the shuttle — leading to an extra camera survey of the heat shield. That survey did not include the radiator panels, however.


Continue reading NASA studying a ‘ding’ on shuttle

gliderpilotuk
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From: London, UK
Registered: Feb 2002

posted 10-05-2006 05:39 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gliderpilotuk   Click Here to Email gliderpilotuk     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Do we know if the object passed through, is still embedded or vaporised on impact?

Paul

Robert Pearlman
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Posts: 27328
From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-05-2006 10:46 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It reportedly passed through without impacting any of the radiator's freon tubes.

Regarding the radiator panels themselves, the following overview is adapted from a NASA reference document:

quote:
The radiators are aluminum sandwich panels coated with a silver-Teflon adhesive tape. The aluminum sandwich panel supplies stiffness and rigidity to the internal Freon tube bank and manifold. Silver-Teflon tape reduces the solar energy absorption and increase heat transfer from the Freon-21 to space.

The aluminum sandwich panel consists of a honeycomb core and 0.011 inch thick aluminum face sheets. The thickness of the face sheets does not change between deployable and fixed radiator panels, but the thickness of the honeycomb material changes from 0.90 to 0.50 inches, respectively.

The silver-Teflon tape is multilayered and is applied to the radiator panels in rows. This tape consists of eight layers, including a removable protective coverlay and a removable release liner.


[Edited by Robert Pearlman (October 05, 2006).]

mjanovec
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From: Midwest, USA
Registered: Jul 2005

posted 10-05-2006 01:33 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for mjanovec   Click Here to Email mjanovec     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I doubt the crew would have had any chance to feel that hit. It probably passed through the panel like a silent bullet. Even if the object had enough mass to send a vibration through the orbiter, my guess is that it would have been such a small vibration as to be undetected...or since the astronauts may have been "floating" around at the time of the hit, there may not have been any direct transfer of energy from the orbiter into the astronaut's body.

I have to wonder what would have happened had this hit occurred on one of the ISS's crew modules. A hole that size might have allowed the station to quickly lose pressure.

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-05-2006 02:29 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
NASA has posted the above images in high resolution to their website. Also included was this schematic of the damage:

Robert Pearlman
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From: Houston, TX
Registered: Nov 1999

posted 10-05-2006 06:31 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Robert Pearlman   Click Here to Email Robert Pearlman     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
From SPACE.com's Tariq Malik:
quote:
“Although it’s small, by comparison it may be the second largest impact we’ve been able to detect on a payload bay door,” NASA spokesperson Kyle Herring told SPACE.com. “It did not do any other damage to the vehicle other than penetrate the radiator.”
Continue reading NASA: Atlantis Shuttle's Radiator Struck by Object in September Flight

BMckay
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Posts: 1906
From: MA, USA
Registered: Sep 2002

posted 10-06-2006 10:32 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for BMckay   Click Here to Email BMckay     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Saw the piece on the "hole" on CNN this morning- 7:24amish- When it showed the picture it had Collect Space in the top right hand corner.

Recognition and pubilicty!!!

All times are CT (US)

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