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  Wing Leading Edge Micro-Meteoroid Orbital Debris Protection

Problem: With the increase of Orbital debris due to space craft events, the risk of a catastrophic puncture of an Orbiter wing leading edge has increased. With a puncture, heat from the plasma during entry will erode the Inconel foil of the insulators exposing the wing front spar and attach fittings to the plasma. Previously, the Shuttle Program has reduced this risk by flying attitudes that provide the maximum protection from debris. In evaluation of International Space Station (ISS) assembly and support, the Orbiter attitude is driven by ISS and cannot adjust attitude to protect the WLE.
Solution: Design being implemented provides additional insulation (Nextel 440 fabric) behind the Inconel foil for WLE panels 5-13.
Initial Operation Date: Phase II Upgrade
OV-102 STS-103 (12/2/99)
OV-103 STS- 97(4/8/99)
OV-104 STS-92 (1/14/99)
OV-105 STS-96 (12/9/98)
Technology Goal: No new technologies involved.
Goals Supported: 1) Fly Safely

Curator: Kim Dismukes | Responsible NASA Official: John Ira Petty | Updated: 04/07/2002
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