Exploiting Orbital Data and Observation Campaigns to Improve Space Debris Models

  • Vitali BraunEmail author
  • André Horstmann
  • Benedikt Reihs
  • Stijn Lemmens
  • Klaus Merz
  • Holger Krag


The European Space Agency (ESA) has been developing the Meteoroid and Space Debris Terrestrial Environment Reference (MASTER) software as the European reference model for space debris for more than 25 years. It is an event-based simulation of all known individual debris-generating events since 1957, including breakups, solid rocket motor firings and nuclear reactor core ejections. In 2014, the upgraded version of the Debris Risk Assessment and Mitigation Analysis (DRAMA) tool suite was released. In the same year an ESA instruction made the standard ISO 24113:2011 on space debris mitigation requirements, adopted via the European Cooperation for Space Standardization (ECSS), applicable to all ESA missions. In order to verify the compliance of a space mission with those requirements, the DRAMA software is used to assess collision avoidance statistics, estimate the remaining orbital lifetime and evaluate the on-ground risk for controlled and uncontrolled re-entries. In this paper, the approach to validate the MASTER and DRAMA tools is outlined. For MASTER, recent observation campaign results shall be discussed. In DRAMA, the assessment of collision avoidance statistics is based on orbit uncertainty information derived from Conjunction Data Messages (CDM) provided by the Joint Space Operations Center (JSpOC). The way this information is going to be used in a future DRAMA version is outlined and the comparison of estimated manoeuvre rates with real manoeuvres from the operations of ESA spacecraft is shown.


MASTER DRAMA Space debris Model validation 



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Copyright information

© American Astronautical Society 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.IMS Space Consultancy at Space Debris OfficeESA/ESOCDarmstadtGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Space SystemsTU BraunschweigBraunschweigGermany
  3. 3.Space Debris OfficeESA/ESOCDarmstadtGermany

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