The debris analysis workstation: From concept to reality

David B. Spencer, Scott R. Maethner, Ann J. Shubert, Kenneth W. Yates

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Determining the hazards from debris generating events is a design and safety consideration for a number of space systems, both currently operating and planned. To meet these and other requirements, the United States Air Force (USAF) Phillips Laboratory (PL) Space Debris Research Program is developing a simulation platform called the Debris Analysis Workstation (DAW) which provides an analysis capability for assessing a wide variety of debris studies. DAW integrates several component debris analysis models and data visualization tools into a single analysis platform that meets the needs for Department of Defense space debris analysis, and is both user friendly and modular. This allows for studies to be performed expeditiously by analysts that are not debris experts. DAW has gone from concept to reality with the recent deliveries of Versions 0. 1 to 0.4 to a number of customers. The current version of DAW incorporates a spacecraft breakup model, drag inclusive propagator, a collision dispersion model, a graphical user interface, and data visualization routines, which together provide capabilities to conduct missile intercept range safety analyses. Work is progressing to add new capabilities with the incorporation of additional models and improved designs. The existing tools are in their initial integrated form, but the "glue" that will ultimately bring them together into an integrated, user-friendly system, is an object oriented language layer that is scheduled to be added in 1995. Other candidate component models that are under consideration for incorporation include additional orbital propagators, error estimation routines, dispersion models, and other breakup models. At present, DAW resides on a SUN workstation, although future versions could be tailored for other platforms, depending on the need.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)77-87
Number of pages11
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - Jun 23 1995
EventSpace Environmental, Legal, and Safety Issues 1995 - Orlando, United States
Duration: Apr 17 1995Apr 21 1995

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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