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ECE_Project_Tyler_Campos_Mike_Moser

ECE_Project_Tyler_Campos_Mike_Moser - COLLISION AVOIDANCE...

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COLLISION AVOIDANCE Tyler Campos & Mike Moser April 24, 2011 ABSTRACT The topic being explored in this project is collision avoidance for on-orbit space vehicles. There are over 500,000 pieces of debris, both natural and manmade, in orbit of the Earth that can cause problems for active space vehicles [2]. There have been multiple collisions in the past, so operators of space vehicles have developed methods of avoiding them. The factors considered in these methods are space debris tracking, warning systems, orbital elements, and physical maneuvers.
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BACKGROUND INFORMATION AND DEFINITIONS Space junk is the collection of objects in orbit around Earth that were manufactured by man but are no longer needed for any useful purpose. These objects consist of everything from spent rocket stages and defunct satellites to explosion and collision fragments. The debris includes slag and dust from solid rocket motors, surface degradation products such as paint flakes, coolant released by RORSAT nuclear powered satellites, clusters of small needles, and objects released due to the impact of micrometeoroids or fairly small debris onto spacecraft. The orbits of space junk often intersect orbits of satellites and other important space vehicles, because of this, a collision avoidance maneuver is usually in order. Space junk can be broken down into three categories, space debris, orbital debris, and space waste [4]. Space debris includes all natural and artificial particles in space. Most natural particles, like asteroids, are in orbit around the sun, while most artificial particles are in orbit around the Earth. These artificial particles are often referred to as orbital debris and are the main concern for live spacecraft. Orbital debris can consist of things like dead satellites, abandoned launch vehicle stages, and fragmentation debris from previous collisions. The Department of Defense tracks over 500,000 pieces of orbital debris that are the size of a marble or larger moving as fast as 17,500 mph. Even a tiny particle moving at speeds like this can be damaging to space vehicles. Finally, space waste is any space vehicle or object with a function that has been launched in to space and then decommissioned or “parked” in an orbit. There are also millions of smaller pieces of debris that are too small to be tracked. Nicholas Johnson, NASA chief scientist for orbital debris, says “the greatest risk to space missions comes from non-trackable debris.” [2] There is not much that can be done to avoid these small pieces of debris, but the larger debris can be avoided. NASA has guidelines in place for collision avoidance maneuvers that
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explain the parameters that warrant a maneuver, as well as the maneuver itself. The guidelines
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