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A study on the capabilities and accuracy of Kapton based TOF space dust and debris detectors

Cornwell, L.T., Wozniakiewicz, P.J., Burchell, M.J., Alesbrook, L.S., Corsaro, R.D., Giovane, F., Liou, J.-C. (2022) A study on the capabilities and accuracy of Kapton based TOF space dust and debris detectors. Advances in Space Research, . ISSN 0273-1177. (doi:10.1016/j.asr.2022.07.022) (KAR id:97627)


The growing population of space debris in the near-Earth environment means there is an increased need for space-based detectors,

capable of measuring and distinguishing natural space dust and anthropogenic orbital debris populations, to monitor and quantify the

relative threat they pose. This has led to much research into the development of new detectors, including those based on time of flight

(TOF) designs which can give impact speed and direction. Kapton’s favourable properties (e.g. its low mass and ability to be manufactured as thin films) and tried and tested space applications, suggest it may be suitable for use in TOF detectors where impactor speed is measured by passage through several films with known separation. To test the measurement accuracy of such a detector, a prototype Kapton based TOF space dust and debris detector was constructed, and impacted at 2 and 4 km s^-1. For a Kapton film thickness of 12.5 lm and projectiles of 1 mm in size, within experimental uncertainties of 1%, there was no difference between incident projectile speed (as measured independently) and that measured by the TOF detector. This, confirms that Kapton based TOF detectors are capable

of measuring particle speed to a high degree of accuracy, making them suitable for measuring the near-Earth particle environment.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1016/j.asr.2022.07.022
Additional information: For the purpose of open access, the author(s) has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising
Uncontrolled keywords: Orbital debris; Impact speed; Sustainable space; Kapton; Time of flight
Subjects: Q Science > QB Astronomy
Q Science > QB Astronomy > QB651 Planets, Minor
Q Science > QC Physics
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Natural Sciences > Physics and Astronomy
Funders: Science and Technology Facilities Council (
University of Kent (
Depositing User: Luke Alesbrook
Date Deposited: 28 Oct 2022 10:18 UTC
Last Modified: 27 Feb 2024 12:25 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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