Current orbital debris search strategies for telescopes observing in geosynchronous Earth orbit are designed around the known orbital distributions of cataloged objects. However, the majority of cataloged objects are believed to be intact spacecraft and rocket bodies, not the debris particles the searches are intended to locate. If there have been breakups in geosynchronous Earth orbit, the explosions may have put the debris into orbits that are significantly different from those in the catalog. Consequently, observation plans optimized for the catalog population may not be optimized for any unseen debris populations. Some hypothetical cases and a real near-synchronous U.S. Titan IIIC transtage explosion will be presented to demonstrate this effect. Perturbing accelerations to be considered for orbital evolution are the nonspherical part of the Earth's gravitational attraction and gravitational attractions due to the sun and moon. Solar radiation pressure effects are omitted in this analysis, not because they are unimportant for this type of analysis, but to concentrate on the primary orbit perturbations.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aerospace Engineering
- Space and Planetary Science