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Committee for the Assessment of NASA’s Orbital Debris Programs

Report Release:

Limiting Future Collision Risk to Spacecraft:An Assessment of NASA's Meteoroid and Orbital Debris Programs

Summary of the Workshop to Identify Gaps and Possible Directions for NASA's Meteoroid and Orbital Debris Programs

The National Research Council’s Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board will establish an ad hoc committee to assess NASA’s orbital debris programs and provide recommendations on potential opportunities for enhancing their benefit to the nation’s space program. The committee will review NASA’s existing efforts, policies, and organization with regards to orbital debris and micrometeoroids, including efforts in the following areas: modeling and simulation, detection and monitoring, protection, mitigation, reentry, collision assessment risk analysis and launch collision avoidance, interagency cooperation, international cooperation, and cooperation with the commercial space industry. The committee will also assess whether NASA should initiate work in any new orbital debris or micrometeoroid areas and recommend whether NASA should increase or decrease effort in or change the focus of any of its current orbital debris or micrometeoroid efforts to improve the programs’ ability to serve NASA and other national and international activities. The study will result in two reports, a Type II workshop report and a full committee consensus report.

Statement of Task

The National Research Council, under the auspices of the Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board, will establish an ad hoc committee to assess NASA?s orbital debris programs and provide recommendations on potential opportunities for enhancing their benefit to the nation's space program.

The committee will:
1. Review NASA's existing efforts, policies, and organization with regards to orbital debris and micrometeoroids, including efforts in the following areas

  • Modeling and simulation
  • Detection and monitoring
  • Protection
  • Mitigation
  • Reentry
  • Collision assessment risk analysis and launch collision avoidance
  • Interagency cooperation
  • International cooperation
  • Cooperation with the commercial space industry

2. Assess whether NASA should initiate work in any new orbital debris or micrometeoroid areas.
3. Recommend whether NASA should increase or decrease effort in, or change the focus of any of its current orbital debris or micrometeoroid efforts to improve the programs? abilities to serve NASA and other national and international activities.

The committee should assume that the programs will be operating in a constrained budget environment. NASA will provide the committee with background materials detailing the various orbital debris programs and activities in place at NASA.

The study will result in two reports. The first will be a Type II workshop report and the second will be a full ad-hoc committee consensus report.
 

Committee Membership

Mr. Donald J. Kessler, Chair
NASA [Retired]                                                               
Dr. George J. Gleghorn, NAE
TRW Inc. [Retired]
Dr. Kyle T. Alfriend, NAE
Texas A&M University-College Station
Dr. Roger E. Kasperson, NAS 
Clark University
Dr. Peter Brown
University of Western Ontario
Dr. T. S. Kelso
Center for Space Standards and Innovation
Mr. Ramon L. Chase
Booz Allen Hamilton
Dr. Molly K. Macauley
Resources for the Future
Dr. Sigrid Close
Stanford University
Dr. Darren S. McKnight
Integrity Applications, Inc.
Ms. Joanne Gabrynowicz
University of Mississippi
Dr. William P. Schonberg
Missouri University of Science and Technology

 Staff

Paul Jackson
Staff Officer

Andrea Rebholz
Program Associate

Lewis Groswald
Research Associate