Date of Award
Master of Science in Systems Engineering
Department of Systems Engineering and Management
Dane F. Fuller, PhD.
The likelihood of on-orbit breakups, whether spontaneous or the result of collision, will likely continue to grow as the barriers of entry to and use of space are reduced. In all orbital regimes, especially low Earth orbit (LEO), preparation to respond quickly when the next breakup occurs is critical. This research utilizes high-performance parallel computation along with python-driven Systems Tool Kit (STK) to model a large-scale on-orbit breakup in LEO, with the goal of returning data in less than 90 minutes. The breakup is characterized by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) EVOLVE 4.0 breakup model and is both dialable and scalable. The debris field is analyzed over the course of one week using Gabbard plots. The risk posed by the breakup is determined using STK’s Advanced Close Approach Tool (ACAT) to report minimum range, minimum separation, and likelihood of collision between the debris and catalog. The field is screened for close approaches each day of the week and the probability of collision is computed using multiple conjunction models (Alfano, Patera, Chan, Alfano Max) to observe how different models predict the likelihood of collision. The goal is to take steps towards preparing to respond to breakup events in the future.
DTIC Accession Number
Buehler, David J., "Utilizing Supercomputing to Analyze Risks of an Emergent Large-Scale Debris Field in Low Earth Orbit" (2018). Theses and Dissertations. 1879.