Using concentrated solar radiation to process orbital debris in low earth orbit
AuthorBabin, Bruce Russell, 1966-
MetadataShow full item record
PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
AbstractOrbital debris is a growing concern for all space applications. Specifically, the ASPOD concept has been proposed to help eliminate the debris population. This dissertation focuses on the characterization and feasibility of processing (cutting) structural metals in low earth orbit using concentrated solar energy as they pertain to the ASPOD concept. In characterizing the process, both experimental and analytical techniques were utilized. Analytically, a non-linear explicit finite difference model was created that examined how the heat transfer and physical parameters affect metal processing in low earth orbit. In addition, the model was used to develop a thermal criterion under which processing of aluminum debris can be accomplished with concentrated solar radiation. The experimental investigation entailed designing and constructing two experimental apparatuses. The first experimental apparatus was utilized to demonstrate the control of radiative surface properties on simulated orbital debris and to allow for the conceptual testing of physical parameters. The second experimental apparatus was constructed to demonstrate the entire cutting process. The feasibility of cutting structural members in low earth orbit with concentrated solar is discussed and demonstrated. Finally, the effect of these results on the ASPOD concept and threat of orbital debris is addressed.
Degree ProgramGraduate College
Aeorspace and Mechanical Engineering