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Laser Orbital Derbis Removal: Studies of Spacecraft Debris Removal Using Ground Based Lasers
Luleå University of Technology, Department of Computer Science, Electrical and Space Engineering, Space Technology.
2019 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Overcrowding of the Low Earth Orbit (LEO) region is a growing problem. Decades of treating this part of space like a scrap yard has caused it to become a hazardous environment for operating satellites. At present, the largest pieces of debris are being continuously tracked and satellite operators avoid them by maneuvering their spacecrafts out of the way. This approach is not possible for pieces that are smaller than 10 cm, since they are hard to detect and track as well as numerous. The exact number is not known but it is believed to be around 190 000.

A number of different mitigation methods have been suggested. In this project the Laser Orbital Debris Removal (LODR) has been investigated and a basic simulation model has been developed. Though many aspects have been studied, only a few have been implemented in this first version of the simulation program. The thesis has uncovered some limiting factors of the models and data that have been used to describe the physical phenomena that relate to this problem. These factors, and other suggestions, are mentioned in chapter 5.

Though the model is far from perfected, it shows the technical feasibility of the suggested method, as well as some of the problems that need to be solved before it can be implemented. The fact that it would be possible to build a ground based LODR system, in no way assures that it is likely to occur. The political aspects of such a facility are too problematic at this day in age. How should it be operated? Could we trust that it would not be used as a weapon? The questions are many and the answers are uncertain. For now, it seems best to focus on improving the understanding of the phenomena, the precision of the model and hope that there will come a time when this research will lead to an implementable solution.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2019. , p. 88
Keywords [en]
Laser, Orbital, Debris, Removal
National Category
Aerospace Engineering
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:ltu:diva-77103OAI: oai:DiVA.org:ltu-77103DiVA, id: diva2:1376157
External cooperation
Universite Paul Sabatier; Rutherford Appleton Laboratory
Subject / course
Student thesis, at least 30 credits
Educational program
Space Engineering, master's level (120 credits)
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2019-12-12 Created: 2019-12-08 Last updated: 2019-12-12Bibliographically approved

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