The impact of the atmospheric model and of the space weather data on the dynamics of clouds of space debris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

New tools are necessary to deal with more than hundred thousands of space debris, thus our aim is to develop software able to propagate numerous trajectories and manage collisions or fragmentations. Specifically in low orbits Earth, gravity and atmospheric drag are the two main forces that affect the dynamics of the artificial satellites or space debris. NIMASTEP, the local orbit propagator, initially designed for high altitudes, has been adapted to low altitude orbits. To study the future debris environment, we propose a suitable model of space weather and we compare three different atmospheric density models (Jacchia-Bowman 2008, DTM-2013, and TD-88) able to propagate with accuracy and efficiency a large population of space debris on long time scales. We compare the results in different altitudes and during the reentry regime; we show, with a ballistic coefficient constant, a trend to underestimate or overestimate the decrease of the semi-major axis, specifically during the periods of high solar activity. We parallelize our software and use the calculation power of a computing cluster, we propagate a huge cloud of debris and we show that its global evolution is in agreement with the observations on several years.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2245-2258
Number of pages14
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Volume57
Issue number11
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2016

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Space debris
space debris
space weather
atmospheric models
debris
Orbits
weather
Debris
Atmospheric density
artificial satellites
atmospheric density
Cluster computing
computer programs
orbits
software
reentry
Reentry
low altitude
digital terrain model
low Earth orbits

Keywords

  • Atmospheric drag
  • Orbit propagation
  • Space debris
  • Space weather

Cite this

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title = "The impact of the atmospheric model and of the space weather data on the dynamics of clouds of space debris",
abstract = "New tools are necessary to deal with more than hundred thousands of space debris, thus our aim is to develop software able to propagate numerous trajectories and manage collisions or fragmentations. Specifically in low orbits Earth, gravity and atmospheric drag are the two main forces that affect the dynamics of the artificial satellites or space debris. NIMASTEP, the local orbit propagator, initially designed for high altitudes, has been adapted to low altitude orbits. To study the future debris environment, we propose a suitable model of space weather and we compare three different atmospheric density models (Jacchia-Bowman 2008, DTM-2013, and TD-88) able to propagate with accuracy and efficiency a large population of space debris on long time scales. We compare the results in different altitudes and during the reentry regime; we show, with a ballistic coefficient constant, a trend to underestimate or overestimate the decrease of the semi-major axis, specifically during the periods of high solar activity. We parallelize our software and use the calculation power of a computing cluster, we propagate a huge cloud of debris and we show that its global evolution is in agreement with the observations on several years.",
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author = "Alexis Petit and Anne Lemaitre",
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