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Orbital Debris

We monitor debris that is orbiting Earth's environment, provide impact risk analyses and assessments, spacecraft modeling and impact simulations within ARES.

HyperVelocity Impact Technology

Personnel in the HyperVelocity Impact Technology (HVIT) Group provide impact testing and risk analysis services to reduce the risk of micrometeoroids and orbital debris (MMOD) impacts on spacecraft. HyperVelocity impact testing services include test planning, test facility coordination, test article fabrication, posttest damage analysis, and documentation of test results. Risk analysis services include analysis tool development, risk analysis planning and coordination, hypervelocity impact simulation, spacecraft modeling, execution script development, post processing and visualization of results, and documentation of results. These testing and analysis services are part of an overall NASA effort to ensure that spacecraft meet NASA's safety and reliability standards.

Orbital Debris Program Office

The near-Earth space environment is cluttered with man-made orbital debris and naturally occurring meteoroid particles. Our team provides a comprehensive model of Earth's orbital debris environment, ORDEM, for spacecraft impact risk assessments to prevent orbital debris impacts to manned spacecraft and assets on the ground. By using ground-based telescopes and radars, we study and characterize the debris environment with optical and radar methods. Our scientists also perform critical end-of-lifetime predictions for NASA-launched assets, provide ground-impact footprints and risk assessments for orbital object reentry and impact, and are involved in the development of mitigation techniques and practices to limit the generation of debris.