Density-based evolutionary model of the space debris environment in low-Earth orbit

Experimental data prove the need to account for centimetre- and millimetre-sized objects in the space environment models, when defining remediation and mitigation measures to the space debris problem.

To answer this need, this paper by Lorenzo Giudici and Camilla Colombo from Politecnico di Milano, and André Horstmann, Francesca Letizia and Stijn Lemmens from the European Space Agency proposes the inclusion of continuity equation-based methods for the propagation of fragmentation debris within an elaborated debris environment propagator, with the objective of leveraging their computational efficiency. As the density-based models guarantee a computational cost which just slightly depends on the lowest fragments size considered, their use allows for the potential extension of the debris evolutionary models to any objects dimension.

The paper is available here.