COMPASS at the first International Orbital Debris Conference

Camilla Colombo and Stefan Frey of the COMPASS group attended the first International Orbital Debris Conference (IOC) in Christmassy Sugarland, TX, USA, held between 9 to 12 December 2019.

The IOC, scheduled to recur every four years, is organised by the orbital debris program office of the NASA Johnson Space Center (JSC). It addresses a wide variety of topics related to space debris, from optical and radar measurements, via conjunction assessment processes and space traffic management to debris modelling. This year’s edition was opened by the keynote speaker Don Kessler, who recognised the threat space debris poses to space missions more than four decades ago.

Camilla presented the Manoeuvre Intelligence for Space Safety (MISS) tool for collision avoidance analysis and design. This tool designs optimal impulsive or low-thrust collision avoidance manoeuvres for maximum miss distance or minimum collision probability. Stefan presented Starling, a continuum-based software suite, estimating the evolution of fragment clouds from satellite explosions or collisions. The tool enables to statistically estimate the fragment spatial density and number of impacts from such a cloud on any spacecraft.