The present paper summarizes the results obtained from impacts on shielded pressure vessels and analyzes the conditions under which bursting of a shielded pressure vessels occur that are damaged by space debris. The semianalytical model was generated to describe the processes occurring upon impact of a hypervelocity projectile into a shielded vessel. A model capable to describe the failure mechanisms of damaged vessels is suggested. Nonlinear fracture mechanics techniques were used to analyze and predict whether a vessel perforation will lead to mere leakage of gas, or whether unstable crack propagation will occur that leads to catastrophic fracture of the vessel. The validity of the developed model is tested by simulating the experimental results.

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