Special Issue "Space Debris: Impact and Remediation"

A special issue of Aerospace (ISSN 2226-4310).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2018)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Inna Sharf

Department of Mechanical Engineering, McGill University, Montreal, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Interests: dynamics and control; space robotic systems; active space debris removal; space debris orbit and attitude propagation; multi-debris removal missions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Space debris related problems have come to the forefront of aerospace research in the past decade, in light of several developments.  First, the awareness for the amount of debris, in particular, in low-Earth orbits (LEOs), has grown as a result of two massive collisions, in 2007 and 2009, involving operational and defunct spacecraft. Furthermore, spacecraft operators must deal with the space debris issue on regular basis, by incorporating collision avoidance into orbit maintenance maneuvers. It is widely accepted at this time that the amount of space debris will continue to grow over the coming decades and some remediation measures need to be undertaken. In this Special Issue, we invite high-quality original contributions dealing with all aspects of the impact of space debris on the space environment, as well as methods for dealing with the space debris problem. Papers disclosing new developments, analysis and/or experimental results in the context of space debris impact and remediation are invited, including topics related to space debris environment, collision risks/hazard analysis, value analysis associated with debris removal, methodologies for disposing of debris and active debris removal strategies. The focus of the issue will be on low-Earth orbits, with the view to advancing both the current knowledge on the impact of debris and the technological readiness of solutions for dealing with this problem.

Prof. Inna Sharf
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Aerospace is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 550 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Sustainability of space
  • Space debris environment
  • Low-Earth orbits
  • Collision hazard
  • Collision avoidance
  • Risk analysis
  • Value analysis
  • Disposal strategies
  • Active debris removal
  • Space debris capture

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle ReDSHIFT: A Global Approach to Space Debris Mitigation
Received: 19 March 2018 / Revised: 22 May 2018 / Accepted: 6 June 2018 / Published: 13 June 2018
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Abstract
The H2020 ReDSHIFT project aims at finding passive means to mitigate the proliferation of space debris. This goal is pursued by a twofold research activity based on theoretical astrodynamics, computer simulations and the analysis of legal aspects of space debris, coupled with an
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The H2020 ReDSHIFT project aims at finding passive means to mitigate the proliferation of space debris. This goal is pursued by a twofold research activity based on theoretical astrodynamics, computer simulations and the analysis of legal aspects of space debris, coupled with an experimental activity on advanced additive manufacturing (3D printing) applied to the production of a novel small satellite. Several different aspects related to the design and production of a debris compliant spacecraft are treated, including shielding, area augmentation devices for deorbiting (solar and drag sails) and design for demise. A strong testing activity, mainly based on design for demise wind tunnel experiments and hypervelocity impacts is performed as well. The main results obtained so far in the project are outlined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space Debris: Impact and Remediation)
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Open AccessArticle The Random Walk of Cars and Their Collision Probabilities with Planets
Received: 12 March 2018 / Revised: 18 May 2018 / Accepted: 18 May 2018 / Published: 23 May 2018
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Abstract
On 6 February 2018, SpaceX launched a Tesla Roadster on a Mars-crossing orbit. We perform N-body simulations to determine the fate of the object over the next 15 Myr. The orbital evolution is initially dominated by close encounters with the Earth. While
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On 6 February 2018, SpaceX launched a Tesla Roadster on a Mars-crossing orbit. We perform N-body simulations to determine the fate of the object over the next 15 Myr. The orbital evolution is initially dominated by close encounters with the Earth. While a precise orbit can not be predicted beyond the next several centuries due to these repeated chaotic scatterings, one can reliably predict the long-term outcomes by statistically analyzing a large suite of possible trajectories with slightly perturbed initial conditions. Repeated gravitational scatterings with Earth lead to a random walk. Collisions with the Earth, Venus and the Sun represent primary sinks for the Roadster’s orbital evolution. Collisions with Mercury and Mars, or ejections from the Solar System by Jupiter, are highly unlikely. We calculate a dynamical half-life of the Tesla of approximately 15 Myr, with some 22%, 12% and 12% of Roadster orbit realizations impacting the Earth, Venus, and the Sun within one half-life, respectively. Because the eccentricities and inclinations in our ensemble increase over time due to mean-motion and secular resonances, the impact rates with the terrestrial planets decrease beyond a few million years, whereas the impact rate on the Sun remains roughly constant. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space Debris: Impact and Remediation)
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Open AccessArticle The Legal Framework for Space Debris Remediation as a Tool for Sustainability in Outer Space
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 18 April 2018 / Accepted: 2 May 2018 / Published: 9 May 2018
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Abstract
The growth of orbital space debris is both a consequence of and a potential hindrance to space activities. The risks posed by space debris propagation in the most used orbital regions highlight the need to adequately address the challenges posed to the sustainability
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The growth of orbital space debris is both a consequence of and a potential hindrance to space activities. The risks posed by space debris propagation in the most used orbital regions highlight the need to adequately address the challenges posed to the sustainability in outer space. The preservation of the access to and usability of outer space in the long-term requires that action is taken which has to be the result of both mitigation and remediation measures for existing and future space missions. As the enforcement of such technical measures will depend on adequate regulation, they need to be approached also from a legal perspective. The deficiencies in law for space debris remediation mechanisms originate from the fact that although technical concepts have been developed, the legal framework for space activities does not impose any legal obligations for debris removal and on-orbit servicing. Nevertheless, an overview of the relevant legal framework shows that there is a legal basis for the protection of the outer space environment which can, as has already been the case with space debris mitigation guidelines, be substantiated in more concrete terms by the formulation of voluntary, non-binding instruments and included in national legislation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space Debris: Impact and Remediation)
Open AccessArticle Interfacing Sail Modules for Use with “Space Tugs”
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 20 April 2018 / Accepted: 21 April 2018 / Published: 1 May 2018
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Abstract
The paper introduces and describes the recent and still ongoing development activities performed in Luxembourg for In-Orbit Attach Mechanisms for (Drag) Sails Modules to be operated from Space Tugs. After some preparatory work aiming at understanding the possible operational aspects and implications
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The paper introduces and describes the recent and still ongoing development activities performed in Luxembourg for In-Orbit Attach Mechanisms for (Drag) Sails Modules to be operated from Space Tugs. After some preparatory work aiming at understanding the possible operational aspects and implications of mating interfaces between these space systems, three possible designs of In-Orbit Attach Mechanisms have been proposed and completed for their 3D (Metal and Plastic) Printing, a new manufacturing technology assessed within this project. The Plastic-printed prototype underwent a series of automated tests in which a robotic arm, equipped with an advanced force sensor, replicated four docking scenarii in ideal and degraded modes. The observation of the forces and torque behaviors at and after impact allowed one to characterize the typical patterns for the various contacts but also, to identify a type of potentially dramatic impact for the safety of the docking and its equipment: in the case of the off-axis approach, “point” contacts shall be avoided, as they instantaneously transfer the total kinetic energy in a small area that could break. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space Debris: Impact and Remediation)
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Open AccessArticle Rupture of a Cryogenic Composite Overwrapped Pressure Vessel Following a High-Speed Particle Impact
Received: 2 January 2018 / Revised: 8 February 2018 / Accepted: 14 February 2018 / Published: 18 February 2018
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Abstract
A primary spacecraft design consideration is the anticipation and mitigation of the possible damage that might occur in the event of an on-orbit micro-meteoroid or orbital debris (MMOD) particle impact. While considerable effort has been expended in the study of non-pressurized spacecraft components
[...] Read more.
A primary spacecraft design consideration is the anticipation and mitigation of the possible damage that might occur in the event of an on-orbit micro-meteoroid or orbital debris (MMOD) particle impact. While considerable effort has been expended in the study of non-pressurized spacecraft components under room temperature conditions to MMOD impacts, technical and safety challenges have limited the number of tests that have been conducted on pressurized elements of such spacecraft, especially under cryogenic conditions. This paper presents the development of a data-driven equation for composite material pressure vessels under cryogenic operating conditions that differentiate between impact conditions that, given a tank wall perforation, would result in only a small hole or crack from those that would cause catastrophic tank failure. This equation would be useful to a spacecraft designer who might be able to tailor the design parameters and operating conditions of, for example, a fuel tank so that if such a tank were to be struck and perforated by the impact of an MMOD particle, then only a hole would occur and neither catastrophic spacecraft failure nor additional sizable debris would be created as a result of that impact. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space Debris: Impact and Remediation)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Survey of the Current Activities in the Field of Modeling the Space Debris Environment at TU Braunschweig
Received: 28 February 2018 / Revised: 22 March 2018 / Accepted: 27 March 2018 / Published: 2 April 2018
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Abstract
The Institute of Space Systems at Technische Universität Braunschweig has long-term experience in the field of space debris modeling. This article reviews the current state of ongoing research in this area. Extensive activities are currently underway to update the European space debris model
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The Institute of Space Systems at Technische Universität Braunschweig has long-term experience in the field of space debris modeling. This article reviews the current state of ongoing research in this area. Extensive activities are currently underway to update the European space debris model MASTER. In addition to updating the historical population, the future evolution of the space debris environment is also being investigated. The competencies developed within these activities are used to address current problems with regard to the possibility of an increasing number of catastrophic collisions. Related research areas include, for example, research in the field of orbit determination and the simulation of sensor systems for the acquisition and cataloging of orbital objects. In particular, the ability to provide simulated measurement data for object populations in almost all size ranges is an important prerequisite for these investigations. Some selected results on the distribution of space debris on Earth orbit are presented in terms of spatial density. Furthermore, specific fragmentation events will be discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Space Debris: Impact and Remediation)
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