From the Editors

From the Editors

First published Fall 2015, Crosslink® magazine.

Space debris and the hazards it poses to satellites and other orbiting spacecraft has become a serious concern for the U.S. government. Although the probability of satellites being struck and disabled by debris is somewhat low, it can happen, as a few high-profile events have illustrated in recent years. How to prevent debris from causing catastrophic damage and/or propagating further is now at the forefront of space management.

At the same time, space debris draws a lot of interest from the public. The topic and fantasy stories related to it has been featured in some recent blockbuster movies. Space debris is also an area of great interest to children. This fact makes for a nice tie into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math). The topic can introduce kids to space in a way that is appealing, and can stimulate their interest in these fields.

For many of the early years of the space race, the focus was on what was being put into space, and whether each launched satellite, space capsule, or orbiting spacecraft could successfully achieve its mission goals. What would be done upon the eventual demise of these pieces of hardware was not of so much concern. Still, members of the engineering and scientific staff at The Aerospace Corporation have been studying space debris and reentry hazards for many years, stretching back to the early days of the company.

In this issue of Crosslink readers are introduced to the topic of space debris and the related areas of study at the corporation. Many proprietary studies have been written for space debris modeling, simulation, and analysis, and the corporation’s expertise in the effects of space debris has grown over the years. Aerospace is one of the major contributors of orbital debris expertise to the Department of Defense community. This extends to real-time debris risk assessment, debris minimization planning, support for end-of-life on-orbit and reentry disposal, launch collision avoidance, debris threat management and assessment, and survivability analysis.

Please read on to learn about the capabilities and people who make this work happen at the company. We hope you’ll find this issue of Crosslink insightful, interesting, and timely.

Back to the Fall 2015 Table of Contents