NATIONAL AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ADMINISTRATION

The interactive model below is a feature of the Academy of Program/Project & Engineering Leadership’s newly released iBook.

International Space Station Risk of Impact from Orbital Debris


Click and drag on the above model to initiate interaction. This interactive graphic shows the risk of impact from orbital debris particles on the different surfaces of the International Space Station (ISS) in the future configuration, which includes the Russian Multipurpose Laboratory Module (MLM) and airlock. The bar at the top indicates the low to high risk color values. The image sequence begins with the bow (or front) of the station on the left, the stern (or back) on the right, the port (or left) side facing the viewer, and the starboard (or right) side of the station out of view. If in motion, the station would travel in an orbit that would move from the right side of the page to the left.

The ISS model rotates about an axis that starts at the bottom of the page (where Earth is) and terminates at the top of the page (where space is). The color differences occur because orbital debris flux is directional. For instance, imagine the ISS is a car driving down a road in the rain. More rain is likely to impact the windshield than the trunk as the car travels forward. This is reflected in the animation of the ISS with the front side of the station, which is more red and orange, likely to encounter more debris than the back, which is primarily blue.


Learn more about NASA APPEL's new Orbital Debris iBook.


Interactive Credit: Hypervelocity Impact Technology Group / NASA APPEL

Page Last Updated: October 24th, 2012

Page Editor: Erin L. Bonilla

NASA Official: Dr. Edward Hoffman