Historical Evolution of the Low Earth Orbit Debris Environment


R. Walker; J. Wilkinson; H. Stokes; G. Swinerd (2000), JBIS53, 104-110

Refcode: 2000.53.104

The importance of modelling the historical evolution of the orbital debris environment is discussed. The DERA IDES debris model is introduced and the elements of the model that are used to simulate historical environment evolution are briefly described. High resolution IDES model simulations of the historical debris environment evolution in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) are then presented for centimetre and decimetre object size thresholds. The simulated environment evolution dynamics are fully explained. Discrete increases in the LEO object density can be correlated to specific debris source events. Examples of the IDES model validation process are given, consisting of comparisons between the model simulation and debris measurement data. It was found that the model exhibited reasonable accuracy for the centimetre and decimetre object size thresholds, leading to improved confidence when performing long-term environment projections.