The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

Synergy of debris mitigation and removal

Synergy of debris mitigation and removal
Synergy of debris mitigation and removal
At the beginning of the twenty-first century there was considerable effort made using evolutionary models to assess the effectiveness of post-mission disposal (PMD) and other mitigation measures to stabilise the growth of the debris population in low Earth orbit (LEO). Subsequently, this activity led to the recommendation of a “25-year rule” for the post-mission disposal of spacecraft and orbital stages intersecting the LEO region. At the time, it was anticipated that the 25-year rule, together with passivation and suppression of mission-related debris, would be sufficient to prevent the continued growth of the LEO debris population. However, in the last decade both the LEO debris environment and the debris modelling capability have seen significant changes. In particular, recent population growth has been driven by a number of major break-ups, including the intentional destruction of the Fengyun-1C spacecraft and the collision between Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251. State-of-the-art evolutionary models now indicate that mitigation measures alone are insufficient to stabilise the LEO debris population. Consequently, this has led to considerable interest in the remediation of the debris environment and, especially, in debris removal. Yet there is a reluctance to revisit the role of PMD within the wider goal of remediation even though it does not provide the solution that was expected. Thus, there is a risk that the approach to remediation will follow a sequential, “over-the-fence” philosophy, which tends to deliver costly, and less than optimal solutions. In this paper, we present a new and large study of debris mitigation and removal using the University of Southampton’s evolutionary model, DAMAGE, together with the latest MASTER model population of objects > 10 cm in LEO. Here, we have employed a concurrent approach to remediation, whereby changes to the PMD rule and the inclusion of other mitigation measures have been considered alongside multiple removal strategies. In this way, we have been able to demonstrate the synergy of these measures and to identify aggregate solutions to the space debris problem. The results suggest that reducing the PMD decay rule offers benefits that include an increase in the effectiveness of debris removal and a corresponding increase in the confidence that these combined measures will lead to the stabilisation of the LEO debris population.
0094-5765
62-68
Lewis, Hugh
e9048cd8-c188-49cb-8e2a-45f6b316336a
White, Adam E.
fcbea2ed-5227-431f-8160-f5b3a8e683f5
Crowther, Richard
f2a40d35-0aff-4bfd-b543-eb958d79d81d
Stokes, Hedley
22f7a751-6dc2-4804-955e-022357c6b67e
Lewis, Hugh
e9048cd8-c188-49cb-8e2a-45f6b316336a
White, Adam E.
fcbea2ed-5227-431f-8160-f5b3a8e683f5
Crowther, Richard
f2a40d35-0aff-4bfd-b543-eb958d79d81d
Stokes, Hedley
22f7a751-6dc2-4804-955e-022357c6b67e

Lewis, Hugh, White, Adam E., Crowther, Richard and Stokes, Hedley (2012) Synergy of debris mitigation and removal Acta Astronautica, 81, (1), pp. 62-68. (doi:10.1016/j.actaastro.2012.06.012).

Record type: Article

Abstract

At the beginning of the twenty-first century there was considerable effort made using evolutionary models to assess the effectiveness of post-mission disposal (PMD) and other mitigation measures to stabilise the growth of the debris population in low Earth orbit (LEO). Subsequently, this activity led to the recommendation of a “25-year rule” for the post-mission disposal of spacecraft and orbital stages intersecting the LEO region. At the time, it was anticipated that the 25-year rule, together with passivation and suppression of mission-related debris, would be sufficient to prevent the continued growth of the LEO debris population. However, in the last decade both the LEO debris environment and the debris modelling capability have seen significant changes. In particular, recent population growth has been driven by a number of major break-ups, including the intentional destruction of the Fengyun-1C spacecraft and the collision between Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251. State-of-the-art evolutionary models now indicate that mitigation measures alone are insufficient to stabilise the LEO debris population. Consequently, this has led to considerable interest in the remediation of the debris environment and, especially, in debris removal. Yet there is a reluctance to revisit the role of PMD within the wider goal of remediation even though it does not provide the solution that was expected. Thus, there is a risk that the approach to remediation will follow a sequential, “over-the-fence” philosophy, which tends to deliver costly, and less than optimal solutions. In this paper, we present a new and large study of debris mitigation and removal using the University of Southampton’s evolutionary model, DAMAGE, together with the latest MASTER model population of objects > 10 cm in LEO. Here, we have employed a concurrent approach to remediation, whereby changes to the PMD rule and the inclusion of other mitigation measures have been considered alongside multiple removal strategies. In this way, we have been able to demonstrate the synergy of these measures and to identify aggregate solutions to the space debris problem. The results suggest that reducing the PMD decay rule offers benefits that include an increase in the effectiveness of debris removal and a corresponding increase in the confidence that these combined measures will lead to the stabilisation of the LEO debris population.

PDF __soton.ac.uk_ude_PersonalFiles_Users_ra3n13_mydocuments_EPRINTS_LEWIS_Lewis_et_al_2012_AA_DOI10 1016_j actaastro SYNERGY 2012 06 012.pdf - Accepted Manuscript
Download (241kB)

More information

Accepted/In Press date: 11 June 2012
e-pub ahead of print date: 21 August 2012
Published date: December 2012
Organisations: Aeronautics, Astronautics & Comp. Eng, Faculty of Engineering and the Environment

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 388786
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/388786
ISSN: 0094-5765
PURE UUID: 7ca1b084-4793-4caf-acbb-67dcb331d037

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 03 Mar 2016 11:22
Last modified: 17 Jul 2017 19:35

Export record

Altmetrics

Contributors

Author: Hugh Lewis
Author: Adam E. White
Author: Richard Crowther
Author: Hedley Stokes

University divisions

Download statistics

Downloads from ePrints over the past year. Other digital versions may also be available to download e.g. from the publisher's website.

View more statistics

Atom RSS 1.0 RSS 2.0

Contact ePrints Soton: eprints@soton.ac.uk

ePrints Soton supports OAI 2.0 with a base URL of http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/cgi/oai2

This repository has been built using EPrints software, developed at the University of Southampton, but available to everyone to use.

We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive cookies on the University of Southampton website.

×