The Russian specialists used basalt fabric to create a shield on the new ISS space modules.
The new space modules for the International Space Station’s Russian segment were developed taking into account NASA’s meteoroid and modern technogenic environment.
Man-made impact on the near-Earth space is increasingly growing, so scientists indicate that the risk of critical damage to the station’s pressurized shell from a fragment of space debris is by an order greater than the same risk from meteoroids.
The specialists of RSC Energia and TsNIImash were faced with the task of developing solutions to strengthen the “armor” of RS space modules with little time and cost but meeting safety requirements.
They looked into woven materials produced in Russia and having the necessary shockproof properties. Finally, basalt fabric was included in the structure of the intermediate shield.
To protect the Small Research Module basalt fabric TBK-5-76 was used; for the Scientific and Energy block, they used BT-13N-43 (100). Moreover, shield structure included body armor fabric. Both materials are placed in several layers.
High-speed impact tests proved that the new protective shell meets ISS RS Specification requirements.
In addition, the researchers stress that basalt and body armor fabrics are not inferior in properties to Nextel and Kevlar used by NASA to provide shield protection on their modules.
Europe also conducts experiments with basalt fiber in various compositions. For example, Italian scientists have developed an inexpensive eco-friendly basalt ceramic composite offering a large scope of worthy properties.