Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Mechanical, Automotive, and Materials Engineering

First Advisor

Aleksandr Cherniaev




Numerous Earth observations, communications, and scientific satellites have been developed in Canada or with significant Canadian participation over the last few decades, and many are currently being developed. To ensure mission success goals, space satellites in Earth orbit must be analyzed for their ability to survive hypervelocity impacts (HVI) by orbital debris, as collision of a functional satellite with even a millimeter-sized object traveling at typical orbital speed (7 km/s and higher) that can be detrimental for the Earth’s orbit environment generating new orbital debris which may damage other spacecraft.These collisions can also result in damage of components vital for satellite functioning (e.g., electronics units or connecting cables) or bursting of pressurized containers, such as satellite propellant tanks. In a typical unmanned satellite, this impact-sensitive equipment is usually situated in the enclosure of the honeycomb-core sandwich panels. These panels form the satellite’s shape and are primarily designed to resist launching loads and provide attachment points for satellite subsystems. With low additional weight penalties, their intrinsic ballistic performance can often be upgraded to the level required for orbital debris protection. This study aims to develop and validate simulation models for HVI on honeycomb-core sandwich panels to enable accurate assessment of orbital debris impact survivability of space satellites. The developed and validated model will be then used to conduct parametric studies and investigate different impact conditions (spherical vs. non-spherical projectile impacts), and effects of panel design parameters, such as honeycomb core cell size and foil (wall) thickness, on ballistic performance of sandwich panels.