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The All-Axis Light Gas Gun supports the study of small-scale space debris impacts (onto spacecraft surfaces, for example) and extrapolation to planetary impact events, in the laboratory. The unique capability of the gun to fire at any angle (horizontal to fully vertical) permits realistic surface analogue materials to be used as targets, for example simulating impacts into (loosely packed) planetary/asteroidal regoliths, layered materials and liquids. Cryogenic cooling within the chambers allows impacts into extremely low temperature ices, simulating impacts into icy bodies.

The All-Axis Light Gas Gun is a two-stage light gas gun, capable of firing 50 µm – 4 mm projectiles (spheres, cylinders or powders) at velocities up to ~7 km/s.  Three target chambers are currently in use: a small chamber, for targets up to ~13 cm in diameter; a medium chamber, for targets up to 50 cm in diameter; and a large chamber for horizontal shots, which can accommodate targets up to ~80 cm in diameter, along with supporting fixtures and equipment. Instrumentation includes a projectile time of flight system, high speed pyrometer and high speed cameras. All three target chambers can accommodate cryogenic cooling.


Projectile diameter 50 µm – 4 mm
Projectile velocity 100 m/s – 7 km/s
Target diameter 13 cm – 80 cm
Temperature range -70°C – +20°C
Laser intervalometer projectile velocimetry
High speed pyrometer
High speed cameras
Cryogenic cooling

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