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Hypervelocity Impact Technology

The near-Earth space environment where the International Space Station and numerous satellites orbit the earth is cluttered with man-made orbital debris in addition to naturally occurring micrometeoroids.

Though most of the micrometeoroid and orbital debris (MMOD) particles are small, they are traveling at such high speeds that even small MMOD particles can cause damage when they collide with a spacecraft. Depending on the size of the impacting particle and impact location, the damage could functionally compromise the vehicle, or worse, result in catastrophic failure.

For this reason, there is an entire science devoted to investigating and assessing the MMOD risk to spacecraft, as well as developing and testing spacecraft shielding designs to reduce the MMOD risk to spacecraft.