Uncertainty assessment for the breakup of satellites due to hypervelocity impacts

David Bradley Spencer, Keith A. Akins

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


The breakup of a spacecraft or its components due to hypervelocity impact is a very chaotic event. Given the best of conditions, no two breakups will be exactly the same. This uncertainty in the physical process spills over into attempts to develop computer models to do breakup analysis and future debris environment forecasting. Because of this uncertainty, even the "best" breakup models for hypervelocity impacts of spacecraft components have a large level of uncertainty. Exactly what that uncertainty is remains an unknown. This paper analyzes how statistical information (if available) can be incorporated into debris environment projections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)649-654
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Space Agency, (Special Publication) ESA SP
Issue number473
StatePublished - Oct 1 2001
EventThird European Conference on Space Debris - Darmstadt, Germany
Duration: Mar 19 2001Mar 21 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science


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