Earth Science Informatics

, Volume 9, Issue 1, pp 67–82 | Cite as

An ontological architecture for orbital debris data

Research Article


The orbital debris problem presents an opportunity for international cooperation toward the mutually beneficial goals of orbital debris prevention, mitigation, remediation, and improved space situational awareness (SSA). Achieving these goals requires sharing orbital debris and other SSA data. Toward this, I present an ontological architecture for the orbital debris and related domains, taking steps in the creation of an orbital debris ontology. The purpose of the ontology is to capture general scientific domain knowledge; formally represent the entities within the domain; form, structure, and standardize (where needed) orbital and SSA terminology; and foster semantic interoperability and data-exchange. In doing so I hope to offer a scientifically accurate ontological representation of the orbital domain; contribute to research in astroinformatics, space ontology, and space data management; and improve spaceflight safety by providing a means to capture and communicate informaiton associated with space debris.


Orbital debris Space debris Astroinformatics Informatics Ontology Formal ontology Ontology development Ontological engineering Space situational awareness Semantics Data sharing 



Thanks to the journal reviewers and editors for their constructive feedback. Thanks also to Stefano Borgo of ISTC CNR (Italy) and David Vallado of AGI (USA) for their comments and questions on earlier drafts.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University at Buffalo, The State University of New York (Alumnus)NYUSA

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