A layman's look at orbital debris
Sanchezcastellanos, Armando R.
Alfriend, Kyle T.
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Artificial space debris is a new threatening reality. This thesis examines the requirement of acknowledging this threat as one of the major considerations in the design of Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. The paper commences with a comprehensive view of the issue; the facts of the case are presented. It is necessary to understand the physical fundamentals of this multi-faceted problem in order to view it as a genuine threat to satellites. Following this introduction, an overview of how the problem is currently approached, from a political and technical standpoint, is discussed. Strategies for coping with the space debris issue are then presented. From these, the paper focuses on the most promising prospect for the future. It highlights the need for new and responsible satellite design philosophies in order to deal with the uncertainties of the LEO environment. The research effort concludes that space debris considerations must be incorporated at the earliest phases of satellite's design efforts and must be a continuing commitment throughout the operational life of a satellite.
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