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Characterization of Orbital Debris Photometric Properties Derived from Laboratory-Based MeasurementsCapitalizing on optical data products and applying them to generate a more complete understanding of orbital space objects, is a key objective of NASA's Optical Measurement Program, and a primary objective for the creation of the Optical Measurements Center(OMC). The OMC attempts to emulate space-based illumination conditions using equipment and techniques that parallel telescopic observations and source-target-sensor orientations. The data acquired in the OMC are a function of known shape, size, and material. These three physical parameters are key to understanding the orbital debris environment in more depth. For optical observations, one must rely on spectroscopic or photometric measurements to ascertain an object's material type. Determination of an object s shape using remote observations is more complicated due to the various light scattering properties each object present and is a subject that requires more study. It is much easier to look at the periodicity of the light curve and analyze its structure for rotation. In order to best simulate the orbital debris population, three main sources were used as test fragments for optical measurements: flight-ready materials, destructive hypervelocity testing (simulating on-orbit collisions) and destructive pressure testing (simulating on-orbit explosions). Laboratory optical characteristics of fragments were measured, including light curve shape, phase angle dependence, and photometric and spectroscopic color indices. These characteristics were then compared with similar optical measurements acquired from telescopic observations in order to correlate remote and laboratory properties with the intent of ascertaining the intrinsic properties of the observed orbital debris
Document ID
Document Type
Cowardin, Heather
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Seitzer, Pat
(Michigan Univ. MI, United States)
Abercromby, Kira
(California Polytechnic State Univ. San Luis Obispo, CA, United States)
Barker, Ed
(LZ Technology, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Schildknecht, Thomas
(Bern Univ. Bern, Switzerland)
Date Acquired
August 25, 2013
Publication Date
September 14, 2010
Subject Category
Space Transportation And Safety
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: 2010 AMOS Technical Conference
Location: Maui, HI
Country: United States
Start Date: September 14, 2010
End Date: September 17, 2010
Sponsors: Maui Economic Development Board
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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