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Satellite Failure Risk Due to Hypervelocity Impacts

Flegel, S. 1, Wiedemann, C. 1, Gelhaus, J. 1, Dietze, C. 1, Vorsmann, P. 1, Alwes, D.1
Affiliation data not available1

Document details

Publishing year2009 PublisherESA Publishing typeConference Name of conference5th European Conference on Space Debris
Pagesn/a Volume
H. Lacoste


The increasing accumulation of space debris objects on earth orbits represents a risk for spaceflight missions. Particle impacts on satellites can lead to serious damages or even to the loss of a mission. In this paper the risk for historical and future satellite missions is analyzed separately. For historical satellite missions, the risk analysis is combined with cost estimations. Altogether 3893 satellites were examined and their analysis results evaluated. The failure probability of selected future satellite missions due to hypervelocity impacts from space debris is estimated for the years 2005 and 2055. The future evolution of the spatial density is predicted for a business-as-usual scenario which is based on the launch activity in the years preceding 2005. The predicted evolution of the space debris environment is discussed in terms of object sources and orbit altitudes. The analysis shows that an increase in the failure probability of satellites is likely.