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Re-entry Risk Assessment for Catastrophic Events

Guillermo Ortega1,Csaba Jeger1,Cristina D. Persis1,Stijn Lemmens1

Document details

Publishing year2023 PublisherESA Space Debris Office Publishing typeConference Name of conference2nd NEO and Debris Detection Conference
Pagesn/a Volume
T. Flohrer, R. Moissl, F. Schmitz


This paper focuses on a detailed mathematical model that is able to calculate the break up and fragmentation process occuring during catastrophic events. Catastrophic events are defined as events that produce a large number of casualty and fatality rates. The work reported in this paper shows different scenarios in which an asteroid hits the Earth producing a casatrophic event.

The paper shows that the mathematical model of the break up and fragmentation process has been programmed in a software tool and the corresponding casualty and fatality curves are computed. The complete model takes into account the impact of the asteroid and the subsequent destruction of life and property after the impact.

The model divides the destruction process in consecutive segments starting from the instant of the impact and allows the forecast of the progression of casualties and fatalities until reaching the highest level of damage (which could culminate in a massive extinction event). This mathematical model has been validated with previous recorded catastrophes and represents a positive step in the protection of civilians and their habitats; dividing the population into the sheltered and un- sheltered.

The model uses the most accurate world population data base available, the latest model of the Earth’s atmosphere, and high accuracy re-entry trajectories for the threatening asteroid. The paper details a parametric study based on the size and composition of the asteroid, the flight path velocity, and the flight path angle. All this data is combined to generate results that can be used as input for civilian protection national and international programs.