Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Joshua Hess, PhD.


The United States Air Force and other national agencies rely on numerous space assets to project their doctrine. However, space is becoming an increasingly congested, contested, and competitive environment. A common risk mitigation strategy for the orbit debris problem is either performing evasive maneuvers, or placing additional shielding on the satellite before launch. Current risk mitigation strategies have significant consequences to satellite operators and may not produce sufficient risk mitigation. This research poses that an orbital debris defender, which would defend the primary satellite from orbital debris, may be a more effective risk mitigation strategy. By assuming the worst case scenario, an optimally performing pursuer, this research can show when and how often the defender can intercept debris. The results of this research provide the performance trade space for the orbital debris defender, and additional recommendations to future satellite designers. Additionally, this researched derived a way to generate a pseudo cooperation between defender and evader. This cooperation between evader and defender is a new way to solve differential games, and is not limited to the space domain considered herein.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number