Title: The debris impact response of the space shuttle wing

Authors: Jessica Sanders, Kenneth W. Gwinn, Tariq Khraishi

Addresses: Computational Mechanics Lab, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708, USA. ' Sandia National Laboratories, Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA. ' Center for Multiscale Mechanics and Materials Science, Mechanical Engineering Department, University of New Mexico, MSC01-1150, Albuquerque, NM 87131, USA

Abstract: This paper serves as an investigation into the response of the NASA space shuttle wing in the event of a debris impact during launch. The explicit finite element method is used to model the leading edge of the shuttle wing and the event of impact with a piece of a material from the shuttle|s external tank. The results will be utilised by the Impact Penetration Sensor System (IPSS) to help characterise the signal received by the system in the event of an actual impact. Numerical results are validated by experiments done at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI).

Keywords: numerical analysis; finite element method; FEM; accidents; spacecraft; structural response; debris impact; impact response; NASA space shuttle; space shuttle wing; space shuttle launch; external tank; modelling; impact penetration sensors.

DOI: 10.1504/IJTAMM.2009.022469

International Journal of Theoretical and Applied Multiscale Mechanics, 2009 Vol.1 No.1, pp.30 - 41

Published online: 08 Jan 2009 *

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