Boom! NASA to demolish spacecraft in the name of science

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Work is underway to create a spacecraft that won’t be rocketed into outer space but will be purposely destroyed on the ground. A University of Florida team led by Gator Engineering associate professor Norm Fitz-Coy is designing and fabricating DebriSat for its eventual demise.

DebriSat is a 110-pound satellite that’s a double for a modern low-Earth orbit spacecraft in terms of its components, materials used, and fabrication procedures. But once fabricated and tested, DebriSat is doomed.

The spacecraft will be the target of a future hypervelocity impact experiment to examine the physical characteristics of debris created when two satellites collide.

NASA and the Air Force’s Space and Missile Systems Center are co-sponsors of DebriSat. The NASA Orbital Debris Program Office at the Johnson Space Center in Houston is leading the effort. 

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