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A Comparison of Damaging Meteoroid and Orbital Debris Fluxes in Earth OrbitLow Earth orbit is populated with a substantial amount of orbital debris, and it is usually assumed that the flux from these objects contributes to most of the hypervelocity particle risk to spacecraft in this region. The meteoroid flux is known to be dominant at very low altitudes (<300 km), where atmospheric drag rapidly removes debris, and at very high altitudes beyond GEO (geostationary), where debris is practically non-existent. The vagueness of these boundaries has prompted this work, in which we compare the fluxes of meteoroids and orbital debris capable of penetrating a millimeter thick aluminum plate for circular orbits with altitudes ranging from the top of the atmosphere to 100,000 km. The outputs from the latest NASA debris and meteoroid models, ORDEM 3.0 and MEMR2, are combined with the modified Cour-Palais ballistic limit equation to make a realistic evaluation of the damage-capable particle fluxes, thereby establishing the relative contributions of hazardous debris and meteoroids in near Earth space.
Document ID
Acquisition Source
Marshall Space Flight Center
Document Type
Conference Paper
Cooke, William
(NASA Marshall Space Flight Center Huntsville, AL, United States)
Matney, Mark
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Moorhead, Althea V.
(NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Vavrin, Andrew
(Jacobs Engineering and Science Services and Skills Augmentation Group (ESSSA) Huntsville, AL, United States)
Date Acquired
May 8, 2017
Publication Date
April 18, 2017
Subject Category
Space Sciences (General)
Report/Patent Number
Meeting Information
Meeting: European Conference on Space Debris
Location: Darmstadt
Country: Germany
Start Date: April 18, 2017
End Date: April 21, 2017
Sponsors: European Space Agency. European Space Operations Center
Distribution Limits
Public Use Permitted.
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