Probabilistic multi-dimensional debris cloud propagation subject to non-linear dynamics

When scaling down to the centimetre-millimetre range, deterministic models for the propagation of huge populations of space debris suffer from the massive computational cost required. Density-based models, which treat the fragments no longer as single pieces but as a cloud, are a well-established more efficient alternative. However, such models historically work under simplifying assumptions on the cloud dynamics.

In this work, Lorenzo Giudici, Mirko Trisolini and Camilla Colombo propose a continuum formulation that combines the method of characteristics with the discretisation of the phase space of Keplerian elements and area-to-mass ratio into bins. The model guarantees statistical validity with a reduced computational effort and is applicable to any orbital regime.

The paper is available at the following link: