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Collisional cascading - The limits of population growth in low earth orbitRandom collisions between made-made objects in earth orbit will lead to a significant source of orbital debris, but there are a number of uncertainties in these models, and additional analysis and data are required to fully characterize the future environment. However, the nature of these uncertainties are such that while the future environment is uncertain, the fact that collisions will control the future environment is less uncertain. The data that already exist is sufficient to show that cascading collisions will control the future debris environment with no, or very minor increases in the current low-earth-orbit population. Two populations control this process: explosion fragments and expended rocket bodies and payloads. Practices are already changing to limit explosions in low earth orbit; it is necessary to begin limiting the number of expended rocket bodies and payloads in orbit.
Document ID
19920036034
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Authors
Kessler, Donald J. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 15, 2013
Publication Date
January 1, 1991
Publication Information
Publication: Advances in Space Research
Volume: 11
Issue: 12, 1
ISSN: 0273-1177
Subject Category
ASTRONAUTICS (GENERAL)
Distribution Limits
Public
Copyright
Other