Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Faculty of Engineering
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Graduate School of Engineering
Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics, School of Engineering
To address space debris issues which threaten long-term sustainability of outer space activities, we have built space debris evolutionary models by incorporation of laws of astrodynamics and empirical assumptions. The assumptions have been augmented and verified by a series of laboratory satellite impact tests. This work not only contributes to the world-wide effort to predict the future space debris population, but it also provides a novel tool to identify effective measures for space debris mitigation and environmental remediation.
We also apply the evolutionary models for Space Situational Awareness to devise an effective and practical search strategy applicable for breakup fragments around the Earth. The evolutionary models can characterize, track, and predict the behavior of groups of breakup fragments. Such analyses can specify where and how we should conduct ground-based optical measurements of breakup fragments around the Earth, and how we should process successive images to detect dimmer objects moving in a field-of-view. The analyses can also identify the origin of breakup fragments detected.
Finally, we perform unique “hands-on” satellite design activities through the design and construction of Q-Li, the 3-Unit CubeSat for Light Curve Inversion Demonstration, which aims at establishing a mathematical technique to model the surfaces of rotating objects from their brightness variations. Q-Li is also planning to perform in-situ measurements of tiny space debris, which would lead to a better understanding of the current space environment. This project involves mission analysis, spacecraft system design as well as subsystem design problems. Now, we are conducting the feasibility study.