Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Operational Sciences

First Advisor

Richard F. Deckro, PhD


Low Earth Orbit (LEO) is becoming more congested, which increases the risk to space missions. Decision makers will need to consider this increase in congestion as an increased risk within their mission engineering process. This thesis proposes a methodology to create and implement a value structure that quantitatively scores a range of orbits based on congestion factors of each orbit and how well each orbit meets mission requirements. This thesis demonstrates this methodology on a set of circular LEO orbits defined by altitude and inclination, and scores this illustrative scenario based on notional mission measures and expected number of encounters as congestion measures. These scores are analyzed for sensitivity to changes in orbit scoring recommendations if the decision maker were to change the importance levels between mission and congestion factors. For any given mission definition, this orbit scoring methodology can be used to identify high value orbits that would be critical to controlling space.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number