Spacecraft Environments: Design Considerations

by R. O. Rantanen, Science & Engineering Associates, Inc, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Engineering, Construction, and Operations in Space


Design, launch, assembly in orbit, and operation of large space-based systems involve much detailed analysis to ensure mission success. The area of contamination control and environmental effects is just an example of the many disciplines involved. The components of the overall spacecraft environment discussed in this paper are listed. Environmental interactions can alter spacecraft produced contaminants. The ambient gas densities increase dramatically, relative to ambient atmosphere levels, near ram surfaces. Micrometeoroids and orbital debris can have deleterious effects on the spacecraft system as well as contribute to the density of particulate contamination as a result of impacts. These concerns, and potential detrimental effects, are highlighted in this paper to create awareness of these issues so that successful space systems and structures can be designed.

Subject Headings: Aircraft and spacecraft | Space exploration | Particle pollution | Orbits | Debris | Environmental issues | Pollution | Space structures

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