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Tiny Particle Blows Hole in European Satellite's Solar Panel

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posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 05:37 PM
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A tiny piece of debris has punched a gaping hole in the solar panel of one of its Earth observation satellites, causing visible damage but not enough to affect its routine operations, the European Space Agency said Wednesday.

The unknown particle just a few millimeters big slammed into the back of a solar panel on Copernicus Sentinel-1A on Aug. 23. Using on-board cameras, engineers have determined that the hole is about 40 centimeters (16 inches) in diameter.

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The European Space Agency''s Copernicus Sentinel-1A satellite was struck a millimetre-sized particle on Aug. 23, 2016. The solar array was damaged but there was only minimal power loss. It also experienced a slight change in orientation as a result.

Link to animation and photos of solar arrray damage.


Surprising that this doesn't happen more often.

There are photos taken by the onboard camera of the before and after at the second link. At least the damage has had little effect on the power from the panel.




posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 05:40 PM
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a reply to: roadgravel

Imagine you´re out there doing stuff, you´d never see it coming. Space fare can go wrong on so many levels, I wonder how tiny the particle was.



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 05:40 PM
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A bit difficult to tell from the picture how much is deformation and how much is hole.



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 05:42 PM
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A few millimeters is reported so that is pretty small. I suppose it could be compared to a very high speed BB.



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 05:43 PM
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originally posted by: verschickter
a reply to: roadgravel

Imagine you´re out there doing stuff, you´d never see it coming. Space fare can go wrong on so many levels, I wonder how tiny the particle was.
It says just a few mm so, 2-3 millimeters I reckon.



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 05:45 PM
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a reply to: roadgravel
Ah in their animation it looks the size of a water bottle but hard to tell. I´ve read 40cm hole, but I´m not sure if they included the dent into it. Orientation was also slightly changed! In theory, they could calculate the energy roughly.



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 05:45 PM
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originally posted by: roadgravel
A few millimeters is reported so that is pretty small. I suppose it could be compared to a very high speed BB.[/quote


] VERY high speed BB! For something that small to make a hole 16" in diameter through a satelittes solar panel that sucker was moving thousands of miles per hour. . . . .hell, maybe miles per second 😲



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 06:39 PM
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originally posted by: roadgravel

A tiny piece of debris has punched a gaping hole in the solar panel of one of its Earth observation satellites, causing visible damage but not enough to affect its routine operations, the European Space Agency said Wednesday.

The unknown particle just a few millimeters big slammed into the back of a solar panel on Copernicus Sentinel-1A on Aug. 23. Using on-board cameras, engineers have determined that the hole is about 40 centimeters (16 inches) in diameter.

Link




The European Space Agency''s Copernicus Sentinel-1A satellite was struck a millimetre-sized particle on Aug. 23, 2016. The solar array was damaged but there was only minimal power loss. It also experienced a slight change in orientation as a result.

Link to animation and photos of solar arrray damage.


Surprising that this doesn't happen more often.

There are photos taken by the onboard camera of the before and after at the second link. At least the damage has had little effect on the power from the panel.
And imagine as a guy in a space suit. Many of these particles are traveling far faster than bullets.



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 07:45 PM
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originally posted by: roadgravel
Surprising that this doesn't happen more often.
I'm not sure how accurate these odds are from the OP article, but if these are correct and you launch 100 satellites with 100 to 1 odds of getting hit, then the chances of one of those 100 satellites getting hit approaches certainty.


The likelihood of such a strike is calculated at between 1:35 and 1:130 during the satellite's five-year lifetime, said Holger Krag, who heads the agency's space debris office.


We're lucky that astronauts haven't been hit like this in spacewalks. Sounds like it was going maybe 15 times faster than a bullet and while spacesuits protect against grain of sand-sized micrometeoroids, I don't know how much protection they'd give against something the size of a bb.



posted on Sep, 1 2016 @ 08:23 PM
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I got to thinking about the ISS


May 13, 2016

During April, a small piece of orbiting junk hit the International Space Station (ISS) where six astronauts, including Tim Peake, currently reside.

The small orbiting object impacted a window on the Cupola observation module, which was added to the ISS in 2010 to allow for breathtaking views of earth and celestial objects. One of the observation windows of the Cupola module was chipped by the collision. Peake snapped a photo of the damaged glass, confirming a circular chip 7 millimeters in diameter.

“I am often asked if the International Space Station is hit by space debris. Yes – this is the chip in one of our Cupola windows, glad it is quadruple glazed!” Said Peake in a news release for the European Space Agency, ESA.
SEE ALSO: New Results Show This Common Bacteria Grows 60% Better in Space Than on Earth

The ISS is shielded and extensively protected around all the vital technical and crew areas, but anything colliding with the space station could cause real damage as objects in orbit can reach speeds of 22,000 miles (34,500 kilometers) per hour .

Although, European Space Agency (ESA) says the recent impact was most likely caused by a paint fleck or a minuscule metal fragment no bigger than a few thousandths of a millimeter across, it is larger debris that poses a major concern.

Debris greater than 1 centimeter could penetrate the shields of the station’s crew modules, causing extensive damage, and anything greater than 10 centimeters could shatter a satellite or spacecraft into pieces. Who knows, next time the ISS might not come away with only a chipped window.

Link



posted on Sep, 2 2016 @ 01:28 AM
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a reply to: roadgravel



Surprising that this doesn't happen more often.


I was just about to say that.



posted on Sep, 2 2016 @ 01:35 AM
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a reply to: Arbitrageur




We're lucky that astronauts haven't been hit like this in spacewalks. Sounds like it was going maybe 15 times faster than a bullet and while spacesuits protect against grain of sand-sized micrometeoroids, I don't know how much protection they'd give against something the size of a bb.


hah...indeed. It almost makes me wonder...maybe the Earth is flat after all.




1:35 and 1:130 during the satellite's five-year lifetime


Pretty damn good odds to place a bet on.



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