The space debris environment: future evolution

Lewis, H.G., Swinerd, G.G. and Newland, R.J. (2009) The space debris environment: future evolution At CEAS 2009 European Air and Space Conference, United Kingdom. 26 - 29 Oct 2009. 41 pp.


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Space debris represents a significant risk to satellite operations, due to the possibility of damaging or catastrophic collisions. Consequently, many satellite operators screen the orbiting population for close approaches with their on-orbit assets and a public conjunction assessment service, Satellite Orbital Conjunction Reports Assessing Threatening Encounters in Space (SOCRATES), generates close approach predictions on a daily basis for all satellite payloads in the catalogue. These screening capabilities are used to inform operational decisions relating to risk mitigation but it is anticipated that the demands placed on these services will increase as debris becomes more prolific. This hypothesis is explored in a preliminary analysis of conjunction data for the years 2004 to 2009 and a new ‘Business As Usual’ study using the Debris Analysis and Monitoring Architecture for the Geosynchronous Environment (DAMAGE) model. The results suggest a 50% increase in the number of close approaches reported by SOCRATES (or its equivalent) within the next ten years. By 2059, daily conjunction reports could contain over 50,000 close approaches below 5 km, affecting the demands placed on tracking facilities and satellite resources.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Venue - Dates: CEAS 2009 European Air and Space Conference, United Kingdom, 2009-10-26 - 2009-10-29
Related URLs:
Keywords: space debris, evolutionary model, conjunction assessment
Organisations: Astronautics Group
ePrint ID: 68967
Date :
Date Event
November 2009Published
Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2009
Last Modified: 18 Apr 2017 21:18
Further Information:Google Scholar

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