Risk Induced by the Uncatalogued Space Debris Population in the Presence of Large Constellations

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B. Revelin et al. (2017), JBIS, 70, pp.98-104

Refcode: 2017.70.98
Keywords: Space debris, mega-constellations, MEDEE, sustainability, mitigation, catalogued objects, CNES, explosions, fragmentation, collision, Monte-Carlo, long-term evolution

The number of artificial objects in orbit continues to increase and, with it, a key threat to space sustainability. In order to avoid such situation, several responses outlining mitigation procedures, including the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC) Space Debris Mitigation Guidelines, the United Nations Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space Mitigation Guidelines, the International Organization for Standardization Space Debris Mitigation Standards and a multitude of other national and international documents have been, and continue to be, developed to limit the expected growth of the debris population. Planned, large constellations of satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO) raise new questions about space sustainability, which previous studies started to tackle. On this paper we analyse the effects of these constellations on the long term evolution of the orbital environment when more realistic conditions, than those used on previous studies, are considered (e.g. explosions, lower respect of mitigation practices, objects < 10cm).

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