Crosslink, Fall 2015
Understanding Space Debris
Causes, Mitigations, and Issues
Volume 16, Number 1 (Fall 2015)
Earth’s orbital environment is becoming increasingly crowded with debris posing threats
ranging from diminished capability to outright destruction of on-orbit assets.
The Aerospace Corporation’s ADEPT simulation is being used to assess the effectiveness of
mitigation practices on reducing the future orbital debris population.
Aerospace has been providing quick situational awareness to government decision-makers
concerned about the effects of energetic space breakups.
The proliferation of objects in space has made the job of monitoring them more challenging—
and more essential.
The Aerospace Corporation has been providing collision avoidance support for
space launches since the mid-1990s.
Aerospace has honed expertise for more than 25 years in modeling space debris fragmentation events—
from accidental to intentional collisions—leading to insights and predictions for future breakup events.
Methods developed at Aerospace quickly render intuitive pictures and
interactive models of an evolving debris field.
Cleanup of the space environment is possible if postmission disposal tactics are built into future space systems. Active debris removal techniques are also a means of mitigation.
As awareness of space debris and its potential threats to operational satellites continues to evolve,
so too do policies regarding its removal.
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