Increasing demands on the design criteria of spacecraft components have driven efforts to develop advanced space debris ground simulation techniques suitable to be incorporated into a space environmental effects chamber. A laser-driven flyer method suitable in such a chamber was used to conduct an initial investigation of space debris impact on a new toughened solar cell coverglass material. Damage characteristics, including mechanical damage and contamination generated by impact with a 3-mm diameter, 3-μm thick aluminum particle accelerated to 4.5 km/sec, were investigated. Scanning electron microscopy, optical microscopy, and spectrophotometry were used to measure the mechanical damage and the loss of solar transmission. Because of the limited number of impact tests made in this initial study, a quantitative analysis was not possible. However, much insight was obtained from the observed damage.

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