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An Assessment of the Current LEO Debris Environment and the Need for Active Debris RemovalThe anti-satellite test on the Fengun-1 C weather satellite in early 2007 and the collision between Iridium 33 and Cosmos 2251 in 2009 dramatically altered the landscape of the human-made orbital debris environment in the low Earth orbit (LEO). The two events generated approximately 5500 fragments large enough to be tracked by the U.S. Space Surveillance Network. Those fragments account for more than 60% increase to the debris population in LEO. However, even before the ASAT test, model analyses already indicated that the debris population (for those larger than 10 cm) in LEO had reached a point where the population would continue to increase, due to collisions among existing objects, even without any future launches. The conclusion implies that as satellites continue to be launched and unexpected breakup events continue to occur, commonly-adopted mitigation measures will not be able to stop the collision-driven population growth. To remediate the debris environment in LEO, active debris removal must be considered. This presentation will provide an updated assessment of the debris environment after the Iridium 33/Cosmos 2251 collision, an analysis of several future environment projections based on different scenarios, and a projection of collision activities in LEO in the near future. The need to use active debris removal to stabilize future debris environment will be demonstrated and the effectiveness of various active debris removal strategies will be quantified.
Document ID
20100017146
Document Type
Conference Paper
Authors
Liou, Jer-Chyi (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 24, 2013
Publication Date
April 26, 2010
Subject Category
Lunar and Planetary Science and Exploration
Report/Patent Number
JSC-CN-20410
Meeting Information
The International Science and Technology Center(Moscow)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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