This paper describes a method derived to assess the probability of two types of complex cable failures (partial and full wire breaks), considering their location with respect to the debris spray from penetration of multi-layer insulation (MLI) suspended over them, and the likelihood of impacting particle sizes and velocities as predicted by NASA’s model for predicting orbital debris impact size and velocity distributions for satellites in low earth orbit, ORDEM. The smooth particle hydrodynamics (SPH) code was used to determine the onset of these two failure types following hypervelocity impact for different orbital debris velocities, sizes and orientations relative to four different wire locations for a prototypical satellite in a 98-degree polar orbit at an altitude of approximately 750 km (i.e., a typical weather satellite). Interpolations between hydrocode results, combined with ORDEM predictions of orbital debris likelihoods, were used to predict overall risk of each failure type. Adding a few layers of beta cloth over the wires cut the risk of each failure type in half.

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