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Development of the Space Debris Sensor (SDS)

Joseph Hamilton1,J.-c. Liou1,Phillip Anz-meador2,Robert Corsaro3,Frank Giovane3,Mark Matney1,Eric Christiansen1
NASA Johnson Space Center1Jacobs, NASA Johnson Space Center2LZT-Jacobs JETS Contract, NASA Johnson Space Center3

Document details

Publishing year2017 PublisherESA Space Debris Office Publishing typeConference Name of conference7th European Conference on Space Debris
Pagesn/a Volume
T. Flohrer, F. Schmitz


The Space Debris Sensor (SDS) is a NASA experiment scheduled to fly aboard the International Space Station (ISS) starting in 2018. The SDS is the first flight demonstration of the Debris Resistive/Acoustic Grid Orbital NASA-Navy Sensor (DRAGONS) developed and matured at NASA Johnson Space Center’s Orbital Debris Program Office. The DRAGONS concept combines several technologies to characterize the size, speed, direction, and density of small impacting objects. With a minimum two-year operational lifetime, SDS is anticipated to collect statistically significant information on orbital debris ranging from 50 µm to 500 µm in size.

This paper describes the features of SDS and how data from the ISS mission may be used to update debris environment models. Results of hypervelocity impact testing during the development of SDS and the potential for improvement on future sensors at higher altitudes will be reviewed.