DMSP Air Force weather satellite is depicted in polar orbit near Alaska. Image Credit: Lockheed Martin
A U.S. Air Force review into the Feb. 3 loss of Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Flight 13 determined a failure of the spacecraft’s battery charger as the likely cause of the satellite’s failure and structural breakup.
Analysis indicates one of the satellite’s wiring harnesses in the battery charge assembly lost functionality due to compression over a long period of time. Once the harness was compromised, exposed wires potentially caused a short in the battery power, leading to an overcharge situation with eventual rupture of the satellite’s two batteries.
The Air Force declined to reveal the breakup until amateur trackers discovered the debris cloud.
Continue reading Air Force Weather Satellite’s Breakup Blamed on Wiring Harness Compression in Battery Charge Assembly