The University of Southampton
University of Southampton Institutional Repository

The long-term interactions of satellite constellations with the orbital debris environment

The long-term interactions of satellite constellations with the orbital debris environment
The long-term interactions of satellite constellations with the orbital debris environment

An increasing number of multiple-satellite constellations, providing global telecommunications, will be launched into low Earth orbit (LEO) within the next decade. These systems could be utilised for many years in a growing debris environment that presents, a significant long-term collision hazard. The main objective of this PhD is to examine the long-term impact of these systems on the LEO debris environment, and vice versa. The high-resolution simulation of the historical and long-term future evolution of the LEO debris environment, and the detailed long-term prediction of collision risk to any target orbit intersecting LEO, is not trivial to achieve within a single model. The Integrated Debris Evolution Suite (IDES) has been developed as an extremely flexible tool, with a wide scope of state-of-the-art capabilities in all of these areas. A highly novel aspect of the IDES model is the new target-centred approach to the prediction of future collision events. This approach has made an advance over other traditional methods in the area of future collision event prediction and has improved the accuracy of modelling the all-important future collision fragment source within long-term debris evolution models. The IDES simulation software has undergone a rigorous validation programme to assess its accuracy. The historical debris environment simulated by IDES was validated by comparison with reliable measurement data. This validation exercise has greatly improved the confidence in the IDES model for the prediction of the long-term evolution of the debris environment and mission collision risks.

The validated IDES model has been used in a number of comprehensive state-of-the-art applications. The long-term collision interactions of a wide range of different constellation designs with the LEO debris environment have been extensively simulated in a 'business as usual' future traffic scenario, both with and without the implementation of debris mitigation measures. The long-term impact of these different constellation designs on the future collision rate, population levels and collision risks in LEO has been evaluated to determine the sizes and orbits of constellations that the LEO debris environment can tolerate. An overall assessment of the long-term impact of the currently foreseen constellation traffic on the LEO debris environment has been performed. The effectiveness of a package of different routine mitigation measures on stabilising the long-term LEO debris environment has been studied and presented in the thesis. Long-term forecasts of LEO constellation collision risk have been produced by the IDES model. These forecasts are state-of-the-art and should be of considerable interest to constellation mission designers. Estimated debris-induced satellite failure rates were assessed for varying constellation architectures in order to find the sensitivity of the predictions to influential design parameters such as orbit selection, the number of satellites in the system, and satellite cross-sectional area. To put these predictions into context, the estimated debris-induced failure rates were compared to the rates expected from satellite component or sub-system failure.

University of Southampton
Walker, Roger
e8b76daf-887f-465a-99bb-2627845626e7
Walker, Roger
e8b76daf-887f-465a-99bb-2627845626e7

Walker, Roger (2000) The long-term interactions of satellite constellations with the orbital debris environment. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

An increasing number of multiple-satellite constellations, providing global telecommunications, will be launched into low Earth orbit (LEO) within the next decade. These systems could be utilised for many years in a growing debris environment that presents, a significant long-term collision hazard. The main objective of this PhD is to examine the long-term impact of these systems on the LEO debris environment, and vice versa. The high-resolution simulation of the historical and long-term future evolution of the LEO debris environment, and the detailed long-term prediction of collision risk to any target orbit intersecting LEO, is not trivial to achieve within a single model. The Integrated Debris Evolution Suite (IDES) has been developed as an extremely flexible tool, with a wide scope of state-of-the-art capabilities in all of these areas. A highly novel aspect of the IDES model is the new target-centred approach to the prediction of future collision events. This approach has made an advance over other traditional methods in the area of future collision event prediction and has improved the accuracy of modelling the all-important future collision fragment source within long-term debris evolution models. The IDES simulation software has undergone a rigorous validation programme to assess its accuracy. The historical debris environment simulated by IDES was validated by comparison with reliable measurement data. This validation exercise has greatly improved the confidence in the IDES model for the prediction of the long-term evolution of the debris environment and mission collision risks.

The validated IDES model has been used in a number of comprehensive state-of-the-art applications. The long-term collision interactions of a wide range of different constellation designs with the LEO debris environment have been extensively simulated in a 'business as usual' future traffic scenario, both with and without the implementation of debris mitigation measures. The long-term impact of these different constellation designs on the future collision rate, population levels and collision risks in LEO has been evaluated to determine the sizes and orbits of constellations that the LEO debris environment can tolerate. An overall assessment of the long-term impact of the currently foreseen constellation traffic on the LEO debris environment has been performed. The effectiveness of a package of different routine mitigation measures on stabilising the long-term LEO debris environment has been studied and presented in the thesis. Long-term forecasts of LEO constellation collision risk have been produced by the IDES model. These forecasts are state-of-the-art and should be of considerable interest to constellation mission designers. Estimated debris-induced satellite failure rates were assessed for varying constellation architectures in order to find the sensitivity of the predictions to influential design parameters such as orbit selection, the number of satellites in the system, and satellite cross-sectional area. To put these predictions into context, the estimated debris-induced failure rates were compared to the rates expected from satellite component or sub-system failure.

Text
719344.pdf - Version of Record
Available under License University of Southampton Thesis Licence.
Download (7MB)

More information

Published date: 2000

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 464072
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/464072
PURE UUID: c0af6a74-5a5a-4356-9026-24c711e2cf78

Catalogue record

Date deposited: 04 Jul 2022 21:02
Last modified: 04 Jul 2022 22:07

Export record

Contributors

Author: Roger Walker

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.

×