The total amount of mass that the human race has launched into orbit around Earth has been increasing for more than 50 years since the launch of “Sputnik1”, and the number of launched objects in the particular area of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is already larger than that of naturally existing micro-meteors. Micro-meteors and artificial shells from unused rockets and satellites, so-called space debris, fly at a speed so high that the kinetic energies become very large when they have collisions. It is said that the French satellite “Celine” came to an end due to impact of space debris in 1996 and more recently on Iridium satellite in 2009. Considering the increasing number of space debris recently, the possibility is more considerable that a satellite of tens of billions yen comes to an end because of the sudden impact of space debris. The closer the relationship between satellites and social life such as communication, broadcasting and weather forecast, the more important it is to prevent a sudden loss of social infrastructure.
Kyushu Institute of Technology has the experimental facility of two two-stage light gas guns, which is one of the few facilities in Japan, and they can produce about 10 km/s flight velocity.
Collision tests with hyper-velocity have already been performed on satellite components'. Achieving a head-on collision with the two equipments, we aim to investigate phenomena of hyper-velocity collision with 20 km/s velocity, which are not understood clearly. In space, it is known that collisions of micro-particles with a hyper-velocity on spacecraft components such as solar arrays or cables in the power distribution system generate high-density plasmas, which can lead to arcing and dielectric breakdown. Developing the only experimental setup which can treat charging, discharge and hyper-velocity phenomena simultaneously in Japan, we aim to contribute to investigate the proof technology under the space environment, which is essential to the large scale, high power and voltage space systems like solar power satellites and space stations.