Scientists have patented a way to protect satellites from meteoroids
02.11.2017

Specialists of the Research Institute of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics and employees of the rocket and space industry enterprise Lavochkin Research and Production Association have received a joint patent for a new method of protecting satellites. The method developed by TSU scientists was used in the manufacture of protective structures of the space observatory Spectrum-UV, which will be put into orbit in 2021.

- Small fragments of space debris and meteoroid particles coming from deep space are one of the main dangers faced by satellites in orbit. The method that we patented was developed specifically to ensure the safety of the body of the space telescope's at the request of Lavochkin Association, one of its main developers, - says Aleksandr Gerasimov, head of the Deformable Solids Mechanics Department at the Research Institute of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics, TSU.

Even solid particles with a very small size, only 1.5-2 mm in diameter, pose a great danger to an object that is in their path. Moving at a speed of 8 km/second, they are able to damage the satellite or disable it.

From large technogenic fragments, space vehicles are taken away from small ones with the help of maneuvers - they are protected with special metal screens or metal grids. These methods have their pros and cons: screens are more reliable, but they have a lot of weight; grids are lighter but less effective. The main disadvantage of grids is that if they hit a barrier at a right angle or close to it, the particles pierce it and damage the satellite body.

TSU scientists have found a way to solve this problem and provide reliable protection of the satellite, without increasing the weight of the protective device, by changing the design that takes the strikes of attacking particles.

Instead of traditional grids located parallel to each other, we proposed corrugated grids in which the cells have a certain angle of incline, - says Yury Khristenko, Professor of the Department of Flight Dynamics of the Faculty of Physics and Engineering, leading research associate of the Research Institute of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics. - Due to this, the particles practically do not have the ability to strike at a right angle. Moving at an angle to the grid, they are destroyed by increasing the number of collisions. With conventional grids, the crushing ratio is about 30%, on corrugated grids 70%, that is, more than twice as much.

The efficiency of double-walled corrugated screens was confirmed by tests carried out at the Research Institute of Applied Mathematics and Mechanics on a ballistic installation simulating the impact of various elements of the fragment-meteoroid medium on space vehicles.

A new approach was used in the construction of the Astrophysical Observatory Spectrum-UV to protect fuel tanks. The space observatory will be put into orbit with the help of the Proton-M rocket carrier, with the launch from the Baikonur spaceport planned for 2021.

Spectrum-UV will be the only major tool for exploring outer space in the ultraviolet range after the completion of the Hubble Space Telescope in 2021.


Tags: science, space