In the development of new and innovative hybrid materials for spacecraft protection we are about to commence the test campaign.
The new low cost hybrid materials have been manufactured and the materials will now be tested to ensure that they meet the desired function of protecting the spacecraft and crew from unavoidable impact and danger during space flight.
The materials will be specifically tested to protect against radiation and micrometeorites. Application tests involve being exposed to levels of radiation the crew will be experiencing during deep space missions. Sabot testing will be used in a hyper velocity chamber where micrometeorites that are unavoidable to the space craft will be fired at high speeds to test endurance and ensure the crews safety.
The materials being developed include Magnesium and Titanium alloy and MMC-based FMLs, comprising layers of polymers (e.g. PEEK, Polyetherimide, Polypropylene, Polyethylene) reinforced with glass, aramid, carbon, Silicon Carbide (SiC) and polymeric fibres. Unfilled honeycomb layers, as well as Urethane foam filled honeycomb layers are employed in some concepts.
The development is an ESA project, project partners include the Open University, TISICS, RADMOD, Fluid Gravity.