Deorbiting of Microsatellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO): An Introduction

  1. Jablonski, A.M.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Ottawa, Ottawa ONT (CAN)
Orbital debris is defined as any man-made earth-orbiting object that no longer serves its original, useful purpose. There are more than 2 million kg of debris that have accumulated in various orbits around the earth, with the largest concentration in Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Approximately 7% of the 11,000 space objects tracked by the US Space Surveillance Network are operational satellites, the rest are debris. About 66% of all catalogued objects in space history have decayed naturally, with most of these burning up due to aero thermal heating in the atmosphere. Some objects, however can pose a risk either by surviving the ground impact, by realising dangerous substances into atmosphere or causing collisions with other space objects of great value. The natural cleansing mechanisms of the near earth space environment are not sufficient for small space systems in altitudes higher than 600 km and active measures are needed for deorbiting of satellites. This document provides a description of the problem of deorbiting of microsatellites, a review of the state-of-the-art of deorbiting technologies with their applications to smaller space assets of micro- and nanosatellite class in LEO, and a set of recommendations for future R&D efforts on eventual development of feasible deorbiting technologies for microsatellite applications.

Il y a un résumé en français ici.

Report Number
DRDC-OTTAWA-TM-2008-097 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Jun 2008
Number of Pages
CD ROM;Hardcopy

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