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Proceedings Paper

Space debris: modeling and detectability
Author(s): C. Wiedemann; J. Lorenz; J. Radtke; C. Kebschull; A. Horstmann; E. Stoll
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Paper Abstract

High precision orbit determination is required for the detection and removal of space debris. Knowledge of the distribution of debris objects in orbit is necessary for orbit determination by active or passive sensors. The results can be used to investigate the orbits on which objects of a certain size at a certain frequency can be found. The knowledge of the orbital distribution of the objects as well as their properties in accordance with sensor performance models provide the basis for estimating the expected detection rates. Comprehensive modeling of the space debris environment is required for this. This paper provides an overview of the current state of knowledge about the space debris environment. In particular non-cataloged small objects are evaluated. Furthermore, improvements concerning the update of the current space debris model are addressed. The model of the space debris environment is based on the simulation of historical events, such as fragmentations due to explosions and collisions that actually occurred in Earth orbits. The orbital distribution of debris is simulated by propagating the orbits considering all perturbing forces up to a reference epoch. The modeled object population is compared with measured data and validated. The model provides a statistical distribution of space objects, according to their size and number. This distribution is based on the correct consideration of orbital mechanics. This allows for a realistic description of the space debris environment. Subsequently, a realistic prediction can be provided concerning the question, how many pieces of debris can be expected on certain orbits. To validate the model, a software tool has been developed which allows the simulation of the observation behavior of ground-based or space-based sensors. Thus, it is possible to compare the results of published measurement data with simulated detections. This tool can also be used for the simulation of sensor measurement campaigns. It is therefore possible to provide an estimation of the detection rates of the non-cataloged population of space debris.

Paper Details

Date Published: 13 January 2017
PDF: 11 pages
Proc. SPIE 10254, XXI International Symposium on High Power Laser Systems and Applications 2016, 102541I (13 January 2017); doi: 10.1117/12.2257479
Show Author Affiliations
C. Wiedemann, Technische Univ. Braunschweig (Germany)
J. Lorenz, Technische Univ. Braunschweig (Germany)
J. Radtke, Technische Univ. Braunschweig (Germany)
C. Kebschull, Technische Univ. Braunschweig (Germany)
A. Horstmann, Technische Univ. Braunschweig (Germany)
E. Stoll, Technische Univ. Braunschweig (Germany)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 10254:
XXI International Symposium on High Power Laser Systems and Applications 2016
Dieter Schuoecker; Richard Majer; Julia Brunnbauer, Editor(s)

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