Debris Analysis and Monitoring Architecture to the GEO Environment

The University of Southampton’s debris model, DAMAGE, is a three-dimensional model of the full LEO to GEO debris environment. DAMAGE simulates the historical and future debris populations using a Monte Carlo approach, whereby multiple projection runs are performed to establish reliable statistics on the outcome. DAMAGE is a semi-deterministic model implemented in C++, running under Microsoft Windows and uses OpenGL for graphical support.

DAMAGE employs launch and fragmentation information from ESA’s Database and Information System Characterising Objects In Space (DISCOS). It features two atmospheric models for atmospheric drag calculation: CIRA-72 and NRLMSIS-00. Future projections use trends derived from monthly F10.7 cm solar flux data to simulate solar activity. All objects are propagated forwards using a semi-analytical orbital propagator that includes Earth’s J2, J3, J2,2, luni-solar gravitational perturbations, solar radiation pressure and atmospheric drag. Collision probabilities are estimated using a fast, pair-wise algorithm called 'Kernel', which is based on the ‘Cube’ approach adopted in NASA’s LEO-to-GEO Environment Debris model (LEGEND). The historical and future fragmentation events are simulated using the NASA Standard Breakup Model.

The development of DAMAGE has been funded by the EPSRC and the University of Southampton, and it is currently used to support the UK Space Agency's role in the Inter-Agency Space Debris Coordination Committee (IADC)