Event Title

CEU Session #2 - Satellite Maintenance: An Opportunity to Minimize the Kessler Effect

Start Date

4-6-2019 7:30 AM

End Date

4-6-2019 8:30 AM

Description

Orbital debris is a growing problem, notably in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO). While advances in technology have made it simpler to successfully launch satellites into space than in previous decades, there are many which become inoperable prior to their scheduled end of life. This directly contributes to orbital debris. The number of satellites projected to be launched over the course of the next decade further complicates this problem. The Kessler Effect, which refers to the cascading impact of satellite collisions in orbit culminating in complete debris saturation (making it uneconomical to launch satellites into orbit), poses a significant problem for the continued use of satellites in LEO. As the number of satellites placed in orbit grows, so too does the potential for collisions, further increasing the likelihood of additional space debris. While there have been some efforts to minimize this problem, none have proved significantly fruitful as of yet. One area which has yet to be fully explored is the potential for satellite maintenance in orbit. While traditionally this has not been considered a viable option, advances in unmanned systems and robotics may provide an opportunity to perform maintenance and/or repair to satellites in LEO. The discussion will highlight current satellite maintenance and debris mitigation strategies, as well as propose solutions to minimize the Kessler Effect.

This presentation will discuss the following:

  • Overview of the orbital debris problem
  • Explanation of the Kessler Effect
  • Current debris mitigation efforts including:
    • Active debris removal (ADR)
    • Satellite maintenance (in orbit)
  • Explanation of why satellites must be strategically selected in order to provide maximum impact on the overall reduction of space debris
  • Concluding remarks on how satellite maintenance can minimize the Kessler Effect when used in conjunction with other orbital debris mitigation efforts

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Jun 4th, 7:30 AM Jun 4th, 8:30 AM

CEU Session #2 - Satellite Maintenance: An Opportunity to Minimize the Kessler Effect

Orbital debris is a growing problem, notably in the Low Earth Orbit (LEO). While advances in technology have made it simpler to successfully launch satellites into space than in previous decades, there are many which become inoperable prior to their scheduled end of life. This directly contributes to orbital debris. The number of satellites projected to be launched over the course of the next decade further complicates this problem. The Kessler Effect, which refers to the cascading impact of satellite collisions in orbit culminating in complete debris saturation (making it uneconomical to launch satellites into orbit), poses a significant problem for the continued use of satellites in LEO. As the number of satellites placed in orbit grows, so too does the potential for collisions, further increasing the likelihood of additional space debris. While there have been some efforts to minimize this problem, none have proved significantly fruitful as of yet. One area which has yet to be fully explored is the potential for satellite maintenance in orbit. While traditionally this has not been considered a viable option, advances in unmanned systems and robotics may provide an opportunity to perform maintenance and/or repair to satellites in LEO. The discussion will highlight current satellite maintenance and debris mitigation strategies, as well as propose solutions to minimize the Kessler Effect.

This presentation will discuss the following:

  • Overview of the orbital debris problem
  • Explanation of the Kessler Effect
  • Current debris mitigation efforts including:
    • Active debris removal (ADR)
    • Satellite maintenance (in orbit)
  • Explanation of why satellites must be strategically selected in order to provide maximum impact on the overall reduction of space debris
  • Concluding remarks on how satellite maintenance can minimize the Kessler Effect when used in conjunction with other orbital debris mitigation efforts